LA Kings Are 3-1 Up on the Canucks, But Vancouver Owns the Momentum


Last night, the Vancouver Canucks held off elimination with a 3-1 win over the Kings in Game 4 of their opening round series at Staples Center, forcing a Game 5 in Vancouver on Sunday night.

It’s been sixteen hours since the final horn sounded at the Stape, and the sombre feeling felt walking out of Staples Center still hasn’t gone away. Yes, the Kings are up 3-1 in the series, and anyone in their right mind would’ve taken that a week ago if it were proposed, but you can’t help but feel that the Canucks suddenly have a wealth of momentum in the series.

The Canucks used the return of Daniel Sedin to give them a pep in their step last night, and his presence was significant, as the Vancouver power play was significantly better, scoring twice on the night.

Henrik Sedin played with more confidence(that sort of comes with the territory, when you have your telepathic partner on the ice), and Cory Schneider was a huge reason why the Canucks preserved the pulse of their Cup dreams, as he stopped 43 shots on the night.

Even though the Kings dominated the first period, they needed more than the one goal they scored, which came from Anze Kopitar at the 13 minute mark of the first.

These Kings may be a very sound defensive team, and have scored more since the addition of Jeff Carter than they did earlier in the season, but they just are not a comeback team. When they’re down more than a goal, you just feel as though they’re not going to come back, and more often that not, it plays out exactly as expected, with Game 4 being no different.

Could the Kings have come back from being 2-1? Of course. They came back from a goal in Game 1, and they answered two would-be back breaking goals in Game 1 and 2. But, after Dustin Brown missed a third period penalty shot, the game was effectively over, as it was the one chance the Kings had at gaining momentum in the third period.

If Brown scores, the Kings have all of the momentum in a tied elimination game. These Kings tend to win those kind of games, even with the pressures of knocking out the world’s best hockey team on paper.

Instead, he just misses off of a deflection of Schneider, and the Canucks immediately answer the squandered opportunity with a goal of their own to give them an insurmountable 3-1 lead.

From that point on, the Kings had plenty of chances, but you had to know that they weren’t going to score. Mike Richards sets up Jeff Carter in the slot, who has Schneider out of position for an empty net tap-in, and the puck bounces over his stick. Dustin Brown tries to get a rebound on net, but is cross-checked by Ryan Kessler and Justin Williams’ angst in a scum offsets a would-be power play. It just wasn’t going to go the Kings way, and you had to feel that, knowing the Kings’ history.

Was the missed penalty shot the McSorely’s stick moment for these Kings? No. Dustin Brown had a helluva chance and brought his best move on his penalty shot attempt, but if you’re a long suffering Kings fan, you can’t help but feel a correlation between the two shifts of momentum, even if they’re polar opposites.

The Kings have 93 hours between the end of Game 4 and the face-off of Game 5, thanks to a couple of Coldplay concerts at Rogers Arena. For the sake of a few LA County suicide hotlines, may it be closing walls and ticking clocks for the Vancouver Canucks. (Sorry, it had to be done.)