The Vancouver Canucks deserved to earn two points tonight. It was a crucial two points, so it feels a little better that the Los Angeles Kings lost this game due to their own mistakes rather than a bad bounce or a hot goaltender.
... wait, what am I saying? That was awful and I never want it to happen again.
The scoring started with Marian Gaborik. He scored a power play goal seven seconds into the Kings' first man advantage, which somehow didn't occur until the first minute of the second period. That's because after a hook from Jeff Carter, the officials basically let both teams do whatever they wanted, culminating in Tyler Toffoli's stick breaking on a slash and potential too many men calls missed in both directions. Might've been smart to just put seven guys on the ice and see if anyone noticed. Anyway, it was only natural that Dan Hamhuis then went off for a less egregious play as he cuffed Dustin Brown.
(Other than the teams competing to see who could sneak the most players off the bench, the most notable play in the first was Quick willing a puck behind him to bounce sideways instead of forward. Very reminiscent of this, though Matt Greene and Jake Muzzin had to clear the puck this time around.)
After Gaborik's pinpoint wrister, LA was only really dangerous on the counterattack... though they were quite dangerous. Dwight King had two breakaway opportunities, one of which rang off the post, while Marian Gaborik and Anze Kopitar were only slightly less effective than usual in turning defense into offense. The irony is that LA was finally asserting themselves in the latter portion of the second when a harmless-looking counterattack ended up behind Jonathan Quick. That's no fault of Quick's, though; he'd been excellent in the first 35 minutes, and it took a beautiful little bit of reflexes by Nick Bonino to knot the score.
The Kings and Canucks exchanged a few blows soon after, most of them coming when Henrik Sedin came across the crease and caught the head of Jonathan Quick. This may surprise you, but Quick was not pleased, leading to a little wrestling and the ever-so-brief possibility of a goalie fight.
However, the game turned on two awful penalties in the third period. It was a shame, too, as Quick made three great saves in the first minute of the third and was fully intent on resisting the Canucks' onslaught. After performing some neutral zone acrobatics just to get into the zone, Drew Doughty slashed Derek Dorsett's stick hard enough to break it. It was the epitome of an off night for Doughty, who didn't back up his usual flash with his usual substance. Though I also wasn't impressed with the play where he wound up for a shot, waited three seconds for one of the Sedins to get in the shooting lane, and put it right into the Canucks crest on his jersey.
LA almost got away with it, though, and Toffoli had a shorthanded breakaway which was turned aside by Eddie Lack. Ten seconds later, Toffoli was ejected for a dangerous hit on Alex Burrows and the Kings were on a 5-on-3... and in trouble. 26 seconds later, Radim Vrbata got a rebound off the boards and put it past Quick before he could cover the other side, and even though LA killed the remaining four minutes of Toffoli's major, the Kings were on the back foot. A useless power play led to the usual empty-net desperation, and when Jake Muzzin's keep-in traveled about five feet, Daniel Sedin cleared it down into the net. Bo Horvat's empty-netter with under a second left, the Canucks' 42nd shot of the evening, was a formality.
What are your thoughts on this one? I thought Andrej Sekera was sensational, Andy Andreoff and Jordan Nolan once again acquitted themselves quite well, and everyone else better work really hard at practice before leaving for the road trip next week.