So here I was, thinking of how much it'd suck to write about the disappointment of the the Kings playing perhaps their best game of 2013 and suffering a gut-wrenching defeat. And on replica ring night! But after 59:17 of frustration, Slava Voynov scored a goal with Jonathan Quick pulled, and the Kings emphatically countered the cruel ending of the Edmonton game with a dramatic and improbable victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
The first period was pretty much the same story as we've seen in the first periods of the past few games: the Kings started off strong, but couldn't convert their chances. We struck out on two more power-play opportunities, and Jordan Nolan and Justin Williams each missed on great chances. The only difference was that today, the Kings' opponent made them pay. The Canucks won a draw in the offensive zone, and Zack Kassian converted a long rebound of Alexander Edler's shot for the opening goal.
After that shot, the Kings continued to sniff around but couldn't beat Roberto Luongo, and Alexandre Burrows tricked Jonathan Quick from behind the net to give Vancouver a two-goal lead early in the second. As soon as Quick turned his head to check to his right, Burrows flashed to Quick's left and tucked the puck past an inattentive Drew Doughty and the too-slow skate of the goaltender. The Sedins were quiet and the Kings were buzzing, but it was the Canucks that held a 2-0 lead.
The second period continued to be mostly about Luongo, who was tremendous despite the Kings' strong advantage in scoring chances (Robert had the second period 8-2 for Los Angeles). But finally, on the Kings' 27th power play of the season, Jeff Carter cashed in. Just seven seconds into the power play, Richards and Gagne battled for the puck, and after the puck hung in the air for a few seconds, Carter pounced and beat Luongo with a quick shot.
The third was not quite as dominant for the Kings. Questionable penalties in the middle of the third period, including an inexplicable boarding penalty to Simon Gagne (pushed into Edler by Dan Hamhuis) and an interference/possible makeup call to Hamhuis (for blocking Drew Doughty) produced a back-and-forth third, but it wasn't until the Kings pulled Jonathan Quick that Los Angeles found the net and tied it up. The Kings cycled the puck, and Anze Kopitar passed to Slava Voynov at the blue line. Voynov waited for Justin Williams and Jeff Carter to crowd the shooting lane, and his long shot evaded the bodies and tied the game at 2-2 with just 43 seconds left.
Side note: for those of you who don't regularly watch the Kings, an extra-attacker goal never seems to happen here. I think the last time was when Anze Kopitar scored with five seconds left in 2009 against the Atlanta Thrashers, a team that DOESN'T EVEN EXIST ANYMORE.
The Kings possessed the puck for most of the overtime but couldn't muster any great looks, and the Canucks came closest to scoring near the end of the extra period. But Rob Scuderi (who played easily his best game of the season) cleared the puck with Quick out of position and the Kings scrambling, and from there it moved into the shootout. Jeff Carter scored (backhand shelf!) on the Kings' third attempt, and Burrows (on a stop/start/spin/fake/post move that was rather, um, innovative), Edler, and Kassian could not beat Quick. 3-2, final.
So the Kings won their second consecutive playoff rematch, and the fans went home happy. With bling.
We'd love to hear from those of you who were at the game, and for those of you who (like us) were screaming wildly at your TV all night. Tell us who impressed you tonight and what this victory might mean going forward in the comments.