LA Kings vs. Vancouver Canucks @ GM Place
Last time these two teams met was on 26 November. That ended badly for the crowned ones (LA Kings). LA was robbed 4-1 at GM Place that night. Tonight was different though. Tonight, the Kings tried to take the top spot in the league with a win since... 10 years! And the Canucks look to crack the West's Top 8. It's not very fun being in 10th.
The most action we'd get was in the opening period. For the people who unfortunately missed the first 20 minutes, missed a lot. Just 1:04 in, we got the much needed first goal!
Mason Raymond received the puck from a Shane O'Brien back-pass. Mason, oozing all sorts of confidence, made the shot on Jonathan Quick, but was stopped. The rebound was quickly spotted by Mikael Samuelsson, but he, too, was stopped by the Quick Brit. But like the snow on the streets today, the second rebound was shovelled into the net by the man with the 'A' - Ryan Kesler.
Now a sight I've missed seeing despite how ominous it may seem. The 5-on-3 that changes the momentum for Vancouver everytime it comes on. Alex Burrows, Kesler, and Willie Mitchell start the 46 seconds of 5-on-3 play and what a penalty kill it was! Kesler made a great sliding save on a fire-shot from the blue and then Burrows made a belly-save on another fire-shot! You can't forget about Willie! Mitchell doing a great job covering down low and cutting off the LA presence in front of the net.
Something so rare happened next. Something forgotten often, came back to remind us it was still there. Sami Salo is known for his slap-shot. Being the owner of the title of Canucks' hardest shot, we are used to seeing a slapper from the Finn. Salo got his high wrist-shot above Quick's glove-hand to put the home team up 2-0.
Late in the first, LA get up on the board with a sneaky goal from Alexander Frolov. It looked as if Roberto Luongo had it, but it was shoved out from underneath him and into the back of our net.
Jump to the third period and we get the most action since the opener. O'Brien with the heads-up pass to Kesler led to quite a nice play. Kesler drew the two Kings defencemen to him with the puck and gives Mason Raymond the opportunity to sneak to the net. With excellent timing, Mason receives the puck and pulls the puck to his backhand for the simple flip into the net.
Kyle Wellwood was my disappointment of the night. I don't like to single players out like this, but this must be done. Wellwood came into training camp in the best shape of his life! I thinked he shaved off 3 pounds too! But he has done nothing for us this season. For the past two games, Alain Vigneault has benched Welly. Everyone expected him to come into tonight fresh and with a new perspective and drive. But alas, it was not that.
Wellwood had a rough night. First, he was on the ice when Frolov made the Kings' only goal. Welly registered only one shot on goal (in the third). And he took a penalty since who knows when. I was expecting Wellwood to generate more than 1 shot and after a decent season last year, maybe some points? The only thing that wasn't a major disappoint was the 57% faceoff wins.
(1) Ryan Kesler
(2) Drew Doughty
(3) Mason Raymond
(Making the game seem more interesting than it was)
(LA coach, Terry Murray, calls an early timeout in the first after not liking what he saw)