An 82-game schedule is by no-imagination a sprint. Teams will go through highs and lows all season long, and the Los Angeles Kings are finding that out early in the season. For the second consecutive game, they picked up the victory after regulation, defeating the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 in a shootout.
The Los Angeles Kings stormed out of the gates, jumping out to a 2-0 advantage in the opening period. They scored their third goal within a minute of the second, but then Vancouver clawed their way back with help from their special teams.
Vancouver will be happy the way they played on Saturday night. They dug themselves out of a big hole and continued their point streak, as they have not won points in each of their five opening games.
Kings get out to strong start
It took all of 4 minutes and 25 seconds in the opening period for the Kings to open the scoring. Los Angeles did work along the right boards to win possession of the puck. Dustin Brown picked up near the circle before finding Brayden McNabb with a nice pass. McNabb’s job was not over though. The defenseman found the top right corner of the goal, his second of the young season.
After the goal, Vancouver started to pick up their game after a sluggish start. Derrick Forsett missed the net, but at the 12:56 mark, Markus Granlund had a shot that got stopped well by Peter Budaj.
On the Kings’ second power play of the night, they doubled their advantage. Alec Martinez blasted the puck at the blue line which Markstrom stopped. However, the Canucks’ goalie left a rebound and Tanner Pearson stuffed it into the net for his fourth goal in the last three games.
Special teams play their part in the second and third
The Vancouver Canucks’ night went from bad to worse just 33 seconds into the middle stanza. Vancouver was finishing up a power play, which started at the end of the first, before the Kings struck for the third time. Brandon Sutter played an errant pass that Anze Kopitar picked up. He continued to skate into his offensive zone before Dustin Brown and Markstrom helped the puck go past the red line.
For all the good Peter Budaj did in the opening period and a half, his one mistake up to that point in the game, allowed Vancouver back into the game. Jannik Hansen skated with the puck down to the boards behind Budaj. And this confused the Kings goaltender. He was caught out of position slightly as Hansen fed Markus Granlund in front before the latter tipped the puck past Budaj.
The Canucks’ third power play goal came with 35 seconds remaining in the game. Helped by a screen in front of Budaj, Alexander Edler fired one past the Kings’ goalie, sending this game into overtime.
Vancouver pulled within one of the Kings at 15:57 of the second period on a power play goal. Philip Larsen unleashed a bullet of a shot from near the blue line, but Budaj stopped it well. The puck, though, bounced off of the blocker and Henrik Sedin hammered in the rebound.
Kings win it in the shootout
The Kings, aided by a penalty dominated the 3vs3. They were able to move the puck around in the offensive end with relative ease even though they couldn't get the winning goal.
In the shootout, Budaj came up big, stopping all three shots. He looked calm and composed, angling himself with the Canucks’ shooters.
Los Angeles will continue their homestand during the week as they welcome in the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night (10:30 PM EST puck drop). For Vancouver, they play tomorrow evening against the Anaheim Ducks (8:00 PM EST puck drop).