Vancouver @ L.A.

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Los Angeles Kings v Vancouver Canucks

Is it just me or did it feel as though not a lot happened after the first period. We had the Rome, Doughty, and Richards goals but other than that it seemed like there wasn’t much happening. Anyways here are a couple of things I noted about the game:

  • While the 1st PP unit appeared to not lose a step from the long layover, the 2nd unit was a whole different story. They constantly struggled to get the puck past LA’s blue line, and when they did get it deep, there wasn’t enough of a fore-checking presence to keep it in.
  • Terrible discipline by Doughty during the Lewis major. As if the punches and first crosscheck weren’t enough he decides to push his luck and ends up sending Kesler to the ice. In today’s NHL, nobody is going to take that much punishment and not try and draw a penalty.
  • Recalling the 2010 playoff series between the two teams, Jonathan Quick still gives up big rebounds.
  • Salo doesn’t look like he missed a beat; not only scores but plays just over 22 minutes, four of which were on the penalty kill.
  • Fourth line findings: Weise and Lapierre continue to impress. Volpatti on the other hand didn’t have that great of a game. Had trouble handling the puck a couple of time as well as getting the puck past the red line and into the final third. Ultimately cost him as he ices the puck late in the third and Richards ends up scoring.
  • Obligatory Sedin’s are amazing point. The one that stood out for me? Kings have the puck on the penalty kill in their own zone and are about to send the puck out; three of two Canucks are already in the neutral zone. Henrik blocks the outlet pass, pulls it back in and then proceeds to put it through a Kings defender’s legs to Hamhuis and create a scoring chance. Saved about 15 seconds of PP time there.
  • Keith Ballard’s double-digit +/- may not reflect this, but the guy has been playing much better in my opinion. He’s been relatively poised with the puck but the big play for me came midway through the 1st period. He starts off the shorthanded three on two, creates a good scoring chance, but still has enough jump in himself to come back and negate a two on one that had developed for the Kings.
  • With Burrows out, Hansen has acquitted himself relatively well with the Sedins at even strength. Case in point? The lead up to the Aaron Rome goal. He plays the game much like Burrows (except with 90% less shooting ability) and the pressure he puts on opposing players benefits the Sedins much like Burrows does. They had the puck in the LA zone for nearly a minute.
  • Hodgson continues to quietly impress. Eight points in 16 games, but his play without the puck, both on the fore-check and the defensive zone has been great.
  • Booth had an okay game. As a shooter he needs to bury opportunities like the one he got on the partial two on one with Higgins. Left-handed shot on Quick leaning the wrong way should be automatic for him.
  • I found the Hodgson holding penalty at 6:22 of the second on Dustin Brown to be a bit odd. He did have his arm around Brown, but it looked as though Brown swung his leg around in order to be flung to the ice. I know Hodgson has been improving his strength, but not enough to be flinging Brown to the ice; just a thought.
  • As John Shorthouse said, Canucks were 9/13 in the faceoff circle while shorthanded. Pretty good considering Kopitar, Richards and Stoll are some of the best on the dot.

And now for the two biggest points of the game; Luongo (because when do we not talk about him) and the disallowed goal.

To keep it short, Luongo was solid. Considering he faced just three shots in the first period and none in the first 10 minutes he did his job relatively well. I say relatively because he still seemed to be battling the puck somewhat. Inability to cover-up the puck (there was one moment where he got a quick whistle but the puck was clearly visible still) and trouble catching it as well could have had bigger consequences had he been facing a team whose captain wasn’t mired in a nine game goalless drought and who also has Dustin Penner plugging not playing up to his hefty contract.

As for the two goals he let in? Hard to fault a goalie anytime when the puck is tipped in and it was a great tip by Richards at that. On the Doughty goal Luongo was screened by Brown; Salo got caught in the low slot, away from Brown and needs to at least be doing his best to push Brown out of Luongo’s sightline.

Now, for Rome’s second goal. While there were a couple of things wrong with the call, my main issue with it is that the puck was way past Quick when Hansen made contact with his head; he had no chance at saving the puck. Isn’t the purpose of the goaltender interference call on goals to negate a goal when the goalie is clearly impeded/prevented from saving the puck? Also, Hansen wasn’t in the crease… actually Quick was barely in the crease himself.

Overall a game that had it’s talking points despite not being exciting throughout.

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Dean Brookstone 

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