Game 19: Kings Lose 5-2, fall to 10-7-2
VANCOUVER – You certainly can’t blame the Los Angeles Kings for a lack of effort but their five-game winning streak unfortunately came to end tonight as the Vancouver Canucks avenged (sort of) their playoff exit last spring snapping a two-game losing skid of their own.
While the Canucks opened the scoring early in the first, the Kings responded in the second thanks to a crisp movement on the power play finished off by a one-timer off the stick of Justin Williams who notched his second of the year.
A few minutes later, Vancouver regained their lead as Mason Raymond fooled Jonathan Quick on a wrister. That lead was short-lived, however, as Jordan Nolan took advantage of a Cory Schneider gaffe and scored a fairly easy tally to tie the game once again just a few minutes later.
Less than two minutes after that, Daniel Sedin regained the lead and Jannik Hansen added some insurance just a few minutes after that. That was more than enough for the home team as Chris Higgin’s empty-netter was the lone third period goal as the Canucks won 5-2, splitting the season series with their enemies from La-La Land.
In terms of excitement, this game certainly didn’t lack any. In the early going, Jarret Stoll laid a big hit on Kevin Bieksa and shortly after, Bieksa speared Colin Fraser on the bench which resulted in a war of words between the two sides. Overall, though, things cooled down and both teams got back to business on the ice.
Despite the loss, the Kings showed a lot of character in the third period. Down two goals, they peppered the Canucks with 10 shots. Cory Schneider however, to his credit, was up to the task as he stepped up his game after being self-critical of his play as of late. He certainly needed a game like this to boost his confidence and unfortunately, it came against the Kings.
Schneider’s counterpart certainly had better games. Jonathan Quick stopped 19 of 23 shots which isn’t terrible but three of the goals he allowed, he probably should have had – of course that’s open to interpretation. Let’s hope Quick can bounce back next game.
On a positive note, Anze Kopitar recorded an assist adding to his recent hot streak. Jake Muzzin added a helper as well.
As for the Kings overall, giving up five goals in a game is certainly something they haven’t been used to recently. During their five-game winning streak, Los Angeles allowed a combined six goals over that stretch.
While it’s never pleasant to lose to a despised rival like the Canucks are, the Kings will learn from this and move forward with every intention to start a new winning streak. Tonight was a setback but the Kings will be back for more. The effort is definitely there but this was a night where they ran into a goaltender determined to get better – and he did.