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Vancouver Canucks @ Los Angeles Kings Game 57 Running Diary: No love at Staples Center. Kings give up a late goal and lose to Vancouver in the shootout, 4-3

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“We need points right now.” - Alec Martinez

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Los Angeles Kings Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Valentine’s Day to all you lovers and Single Pringles!

The Kings are back home hosting the Vancouver Canucks whose fan base is none too pleased after dropping the last two games (especially that 1-0 loss last night to the Ducks and their goalie making his NHL debut). Check this from Kent Basky at Nucks Misconduct:

“The Canucks lost 9 straight games at one point this season, and yet during that run, there wasn’t 2 straight games that was as soul crushingly embarrassing as these last two. We’ve outlined all the various reasons: a bad defence, various players who have outlived their usefulness or have never lived up to their potential, line tweaks that could help and of course, injuries out the wazoo. At the end of the day though, almost all of these issues come back to one common denominator: Jim Benning being a terrible GM.”

...and y’all thought I was tough on Willie D...

I was feeling pretty good today after that six-game Grammy Trip, but then I flipped on The Twitter and this came up:

And then there was this:

And yesterday there was this from Elliotte Friedman via Sportsnet:

“I’m wondering if Los Angeles makes a play for Panarin. The Kings aren’t interested in a lengthy rebuild, and southern California is believed to be high on the winger’s list of priorities. They could wait until June, but the benefit of getting him now is the eighth year. Los Angeles has two first-rounders (their own and Toronto’s from the Jake Muzzin trade), and have asked a high price for Tyler Toffoli — but that seems an enticing package. Columbus was in on Ilya Kovalchuk, but he has control over where he goes and the Blue Jackets might not want him for two more seasons. Such a move would certainly breathe new life into L.A.”

All I know is I cannot wait for February 25th to come and go...and also, I’m going to miss Tyler Toffoli.

First Period

10:44—After an even first ten, the Kings blink first. Trevor Lewis with the hook and off to the box. We’ll skate 5-4 for a while.

Canucks 1. Kings 0.

12:22—Vancouver rookie Elias Pettersson lasers an utterly evil wrister from the circle past Jonathan Quick and boom (!), the Canucks are on the board first.

Canucks 1. Kings 1.

12:30—One good rookie deserves another. Austin Wagner answers back just eight seconds later on the rush with a wicked shot Jacob Markstrom had no hope to stop. That’s three goals in Wagner’s last 9:54 of ice time. You wonder why he watched all those games as a healthy scratch after being called up? Yeah, me too.

End of Period.

I know, I know it’s just the Canucks, but the Kings look good tonight. As a matter of fact, this team has looked pretty, pretty good since the Jake Muzzin trade. Hmmmmm. Yes, I said it out loud.

Shots: Kings 9. Canucks 9.

Second Period

04:16—Canucks to the box as Wagner draws the hook on Ben Hutton. Now would be a good time to get the power play revved up for once.

06:16—Nothing doing on that power play.

Seems as we get closer to the trade deadline, everyone’s a GM and everyone is a critic:

08:38—Wagner get rocked in the corner and down the tunnel he goes. Could this season be more nightmarish?

Canucks 2. Kings 1.

09:46—Speaking of salt, Dion Phaneuf is watching this and either smiling or very salty as Sean Walker turns the puck over along the left wing boards in his own zone which gave way to a 2-on-1 break and an easy peasy goal for Brock Boeser.

Canucks 2. Kings 2.

12:28—Michael Amadio looks invigorated since his return from Ontario and his hard work paid off here with the equalizer. You won’t see this on the scoresheet, but Kovalchuk’s forecheck was the key reason this sequence even had a chance to succeed.

12:45—Kings right back to the power play as Brown draws an Alex Biega hold.

14:45—Nope.

14:59—Wagner back to the bench and getting his smelling salts on.

15:48—Alex Iafallo to the box after a weak cross checking call.

17:35—Toffoli gains control and nearly kills the rest of the penalty as he finds his way to the front of the Vancouver net and shatters his stick trying to stuff it home.

18:40—Vancouver with their third penalty of the game. This time, Adrian Kempe draws the interference call.

End of Period.

This is a fun one at Staples Center. Could be a lot more fun, if only the Kings had something that resembled a power play. All tied after two.

Shots: Kings 26. Canucks 17.

Third Period

00:40—Kings power play. R.I.P.

01:53—Willie D. didn’t take long to abandon the experiment of Toffoli on the first line, as the normal top line of Iafallo-Kopitar-Brown returns. Leave it to the interim coach to tweak the chemistry into oblivion.

08:00—TV timeout. Sloppy eight minutes so far.

09:29—Kempe with a shot from the point and scores! But no, the zebras wave it off immediately on goalie interference by Carl Hagelin. No harm, no foul, no goal.

Kings 3. Canucks 2.

10:59—Brendan Leipsic with a brilliant pass off the boards to Alec Martinez who one-times a knuckler to the back of the net. Kings lead for the first time tonight. Leipsic leads the team in Assists per 60 (at 5-on-5).

12:27—Kovalchuk channels his inner Dustin Brown and levels Alex Biega at the Canucks blueline. Ilya doing the grinding tonight. Forechecking. Hitting. Taking the body. Retrieving sticks.

12:31—Kovalchuk with another hit, this time taking out Adam Gaudette at the Kings blueline.

13:11—Walker takes a puck off the nose. That one hurt for sure, and you can tell by the trail of blood from the face-off circle to the Kings bench.

15:26—Kings cycling. Kovalchuk set up Kempe (wide left) and then Hagelin who forces Markstrom into a sprawling stop. TV timeout.

18:16—The Vancouver net is empty.

Kings 3. Canucks 3.

18:22—Gaudette springs through somehow during the Kings line change, scoops up the loose puck and beats Quick. We’re all tied.

End of Period.

Kings off to their fourth overtime goal in six games. That’s kind of an unfortunate situation tonight.

Shots: Kings 35. Canucks 26.

Overtime

That overtime was more a chess match. Nothing doing. No outnumbered attacks. No real danger of either time losing.

End of Overtime.

Shots: Kings 38. Canucks 27.

Shootout

Kovalchuk—Score (of course, he’s over 40% lifetime)
Pettersson—Score
Kopitar—Save
Markus Granlund—Save
Kempe—Save
Boeser—Goal

Canucks 4. Kings 3.

Epilogue

Too much Brock Boeser tonight. Too much Adam Gaudette as well. Too much disorganization after Vancouver pulls their goalie. Not enough scoring and saves in the shootout. Kings sit seven points out of a playoff spot and five points out of 31st place.

Next: Saturday, the Kings host the Boston Bruins at Staples Center.

Quotables:

Austin Wagner:

Alec Martinez:

Adam Gaudette;

Legends Night: Sean O’Donnell

Celebrity Sighting: