Anze Kopitar scored on the power play at 7:28 of overtime to lead the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks in front of a disappointed sell-out crowd of 18,810 fans at General Motors Place in Vancouver on April 17.
The win by the Kings evened up their Western Conference Quarterfinals playoff series, 1-1, with game three scheduled for April 19 at Staples Center in Los Angeles (7:00 PM PDT).
The Canucks got off to a fast start and looked like they were headed to another win over the Kings as Steve Bernier and Mikael Samuelsson scored first-period goals at 7:33 and 9:49, respectively, putting the Kings in a big hole early.
But the young Kings finally shook off the jitters caused by their lack of playoff experience and started to make plays. They took the game to the Canucks for much of the second and third period and their efforts were rewarded.
Fredrik Modin got the Kings on the board with a goal off a big scrum in front of Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo with the Kings on the power play. The goal, score at 10:58 of the second period, was Modin’s second of the series.
Just 35 seconds later, Canucks defenseman Sami Salo got caught in the Kings’ zone when the puck went the other way, giving the Kings a three-on-one break. Kopitar carried the puck down left wing and slid the puck across to right wing Wayne Simmonds. He fired a snap shot off the pass to beat Luongo and tie the game.
After a scoreless third period, the teams went into overtime, and the Canucks committed one of the cardinal sins of hockey, getting nailed for having too many men on the ice in overtime.
On the ensuing power play, the Kings moved the puck around well, but the puck bounced to a Canucks forward in the high slot. He was going to be able to clear the zone, but Kings left wing Ryan Smyth dove to poke the puck away.
The Kings were able to keep the pressure on until Kopitar got the puck in the right circle, taking a cross-ice pass from defenseman Drew Doughty. Kopitar’s one-timer was blocked, but the puck bounced right back to him. From below the right face-off dot, he took a wrist shot that Luongo got a piece of. But the puck fluttered behind him and, as he turned, he hit the puck with his stick and knocked it into the net.
Despite that, Luongo played well, making 29 saves. On the other end, Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick bounced back from allowing an apparent soft goal to Samuelsson. He made a number of difficult saves to keep the Kings in the game. He finished with 24 saves.
Game Highlights From NHL Video On YouTube
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