This game was a little too bizarre to get the straight narrative treatment. So, let's take a look at some of the big subplots coming into tonight's game between the Los Angeles Kings and the Vancouver Canucks. How'd they pan out?
Jake Muzzin Alec Martinez
So much for that one.
Pearson and Toffoli
Make an Impact Play Seven Minutes
Actually, forget that one too.
Their Revenge Shut Out
Okay, maybe that one's not fair to them. They certainly doled out some punishment... but did they make up for Roberto Luongo's injury? I guess that's for them to decide. Here's a quick list of things we saw:
- Zack Kassian hooks Dustin Brown nine seconds in, gets a penalty. Good start!
Jordan Nolan hits Henrik Sedin along the boards a little bit late. Tom Sestito responds by dropping the gloves and punching Nolan repeatedly after an ensuing faceoff; Nolan does not engage. For the record, below is what I wrote about Sestito before the game, followed by what actually happened:
All I've ever seen Tom Sestito do against the Kings is hit a bunch of people in the first half of the game and take a bad penalty in the second half. (This has happened in all three games this season; check the box score.) Apparently, though, he's been surprisingly effective as of late. Hoping for old Tom Sestito tonight.
- A number of Canucks fans will have you believe that the ensuing shenanigans only occurred because Nolan didn't "answer the bell." While I see their argument, I also don't think the Canucks were going to stop going after Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty, and the rest because Jordan Nolan decided to fight a guy. So we're not looking down on Nolan's decision to not fight, especially because it gave us seven minutes of power play time!
- Which we squandered. Painfully and slowly. Henrik even tried to help us out by hooking Tyler Toffoli to tack on a minute of 5-on-3 time; nothing doing. I won't talk about it anymore, because it was nightmarish. The referees smartly tried to defuse the tension by slamming Willie Mitchell and Zack Kassian with ten-minute misconducts for a little post-whistle shoving soon after.
- It didn't work. Dustin Brown and Ryan Kesler fought six seconds into the second period, and it didn't go well for Brown, who had his jersey pulled up over his head and couldn't really fight effectively after that. Would that end the shenanigans? Nope. Because Kevin Bieksa cross-checked Dustin Brown five minutes later, and Jeff Carter picked up a slash of his own thirty seconds after that.
- All this led to the two most significant incidents of the evening. First, Bieksa tangled a bit with Quick, and Matt Greene came in to exchange punches with Bieksa. Was it worth it? Probably not, because Greene reportedly sustained a concussion when he threw Bieksa down to the ice. A couple minutes later, we had the one moment from this game which will get looked at by the league office:
- The game finally cooled down after Daniel Sedin held Doughty (while also lightly hitting him up high) and Kassian picked up his second misconduct for starting something after the whistle. Both teams looked inept on the power play, so it was a lot of meaningless activity. Which meant that the game was decided by...
Slew foot? By a repeat offender? Ho boy. Somehow, no penalty, though.
24 seconds in, Darryl Sutter put Dustin Brown on the ice with Kopitar and Carter, looking for a spark after the Kings got just 12 shots in two periods. It worked. Carter tapped the puck forward to Brown, who started a 3-on-1 with the Canucks caught up-ice. With Doughty keeping the defenseman honest, Brown and Kopitar passed back and forth a couple times before Kopitar tried to deke Eddie Lack. A backchecking Mike Santorelli prevented Kopitar from finishing the move, but Brown quickly grabbed the puck and backhanded it home. Brown would celebrate with a fist pump and a huge hit on Chris Tanev a bit later.
The Canucks couldn't really recover from that single mistake. They didn't play a bad game at all, but they also totally failed to generate good looks at the net despite winning the shot battle. (Hm, sounds like another team we know.) For every good look the Canucks got in the third (mostly on their two power plays), the Kings got even better looks; Richards knocked in a disallowed goal on a beautiful, illegally high deflection, and Carter shot high on a glorious opportunity from Tyler Toffoli's pass.
So in the end, the game finished 1-0. Jonathan Quick didn't have the toughest of nights, but he stopped all 28 shots he faced and did it while tangling with Canucks for the whole night. The Kings didn't have the greatest of nights, but they got two points.