It started with Linden Vey, it ended with Tyler Toffoli. In between, the Los Angeles Kings blitzed the Vancouver Canucks, and boy, it was fun. On a Saturday night in LA, we got to see what our two most recent call-ups are capable of, and the whole team brought their A game in a 5-1 win.
Hard to believe that at one point, the story of the game was the number of missed chances by both teams. The Kings and Canucks were flying early on, and Vancouver got the first Grade-A chances. Alex Burrows was stopped at close range by Jonathan Quick, and Mike Santorelli's follow-up hit the post. Daniel Sedin drove to the net but was denied by Quick. The same Sedin had another chance soon after, but Quick again made the stop with Ryan Kesler buzzing for a rebound. Then it was the Kings' turn; Robyn Regehr had a long slapshot hit the post, and Williams set up Anze Kopitar for what looked like a sure goal... until it went wide. Then, a Mike Richards deflection was stopped by the pad of Roberto Luongo, and viewers had to be wondering what it would take to get a goal.
As it turned out, it would take the efforts of one Linden Vey. My description wouldn't do it justice, so just watch this:
Yeah, that's Vey, in his second NHL game, making former King Brad Richardson look silly before feeding Jordan Nolan for the opening goal. (And an Alec Martinez assist, his first point of the year!) Unsurprisingly, a barrage of Vey puns ensued... none of which I will post here. Sorry.
I don't have any notes for the next seven minutes, which makes sense because I was too busy giggling at how great that move was. Fortunately, I was snapped out of it by the Kings' other rookie, Tyler Toffoli. Mike Richards led a 3-on-2 and passed to Drew Doughty, who delivered a perfect one-touch pass across to Toffoli. Toffoli missed most of it, but he tipped it with his stick and his skate (in a stopping motion, mind you) provided the rest of the finish.
Vancouver would threaten quite a bit early in the second period, and finally got the puck past Jonathan Quick on a really solid kick by Burrows. It didn't count of course, but a slapshot by Dan Hamhuis soon after beat Quick to get the Canucks back to a one-goal deficit. It turned out to be their last hurrah, as Mike Richards scored for the third straight game. Luongo had made some good stops, but he had no chance when Dwight King found a driving Richards in front for a tap-in and a 3-1 lead. Toffoli got an assist as well, but he wasn't done.
That goal came at the exact midpoint of the game, and Luongo was chased 1:46 later after Justin Williams had his own easy shot in front. Kopitar was the provider on this one, taking the puck from Slava Voynov and feeding Williams in the slot for the goal. Eddie Lack came in, but no one told him that his first action would be facing Toffoli and Richards on a 2-on-1. Toffoli held onto the puck for a long time-- maybe too long-- but he was able to make a saucer pass to Richards, who fooled everyone by feeding right back to Toffoli. Toffoli put it home, and it was 5-1 Los Angeles. Not much else to speak of, though Trevor Lewis failed to score on a breakaway late in the period... poor guy.
The third period was a formality, though with Tom Sestito trying to set a record for most charging penalties in a single period, the Kings had to be on their toes. Kyle Clifford had left the game after a big hit earlier, so it was a relief that everyone else made it through unscathed. His status is unknown, as is Jarret Stoll's; with Jeff Carter also out, the forwards are a little thin at the moment. We got to see the upside of that tonight, with a couple of Toffoli goals and that stunning pass by Linden. Tonight, their hard work was not in Veyn.
(Come on, I had to make one pun.)
More from Jewels From The Crown:
- Game Day #17: Kings-Canucks Preview
- Three Questions with Canucks Army
- Sabres @ Kings: Grades and Analysis
- Player Power Rankings II: The Usual Suspects Top the Rankings
- Corsi Explained