Kings Defeat Undisciplined, Diving Canucks in Game 1

Thomas Drance
April 12 2012 01:56PM


Jarred Stoll celebrates Willie Mitchell's go ahead goal in the second period. L.A. won the game 4-2.
(Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

The Canucks and King opened their Western Conference Quarterfinal series on Wednesday night, and while the Kings clearly handled the proceedings, out-shooting the Canucks 39 to 26 and winning the game, it wasn't all bad for Vancouver's side.

Unfortunately, however, there was undeniably more bad than good. Vancouver's power-play unit was an unqualified disaster, and a string of bad hits from Zack Kassian, Maxim Lapierre and especially Byron Bitz, ultimately cost Vancouver the game. The vaunted "PhD" line of Samme Pahlsson, Jannik Hansen and Chris Higgins had their teeth kicked in by the Kings top-line, and late in the third period, Alex Edler, who had an otherwise strong game, had a brain-fart giveaway that resulted in Dustin Penner's game winning goal...

All that said, the Canucks were the better team in the third period, and overall at even-strength in the game. Vancouver's penalty-kill looked excellent (despite surrendering two, flukey goals), and Roberto Luongo was solid for the most part. This series is a long way from being over, and while it didn't exactly get off to the start Canucks fans were hoping for, there is some cause for optimism despite Wednesday's rather ghastly result.

Click past the jump for a more detailed recap, analysis, scoring chance data and the statistical three stars!

- We'll begin as always with the essential data. Despite being massively out-shot, the Canucks controlled the quality chance battle in this game with 21 total scoring chances to 18 for the Kings. At even-strength, the Canucks out-chanced the Kings 17-12 and with the score tied, Vancouver's club narrowly edged L.A's team by a final tally of 13-12.

- The Kings shoot from everywhere. They try to create traffic and score greasy goals, and they came damn close on a number of occasions. While their style of play was somewhat responsible for the King's relatively deflated chance totals on Wednesday, I'd say it has more to do with luck. On several occasions the Kings had prime chances at chances, but simply failed to direct the puck on net. Also, the Canucks defenders were first to an inordinate number of loose pucks in the slot in game one, and it's doubtful that they'll be able to maintain that pace all series.

- The Canucks opened the scoring on an Alex Burrows goal that probably shouldn't have counted, seeing as how Ryan Kesler had interfered with Jonathan Quick immediately prior to the goal. Kesler bumped Quick and then threw his head back (and to the left) simultaneously, and I'm pretty sure that his clear embellishment and general roguishness caused the officials to miss the call. Basically, the referee saw Kesler's head go back, so his first impulse was to keep the whistle as far from being blown as possible - this reaction allowed Kesler to get away with a tidy spot of goaltender interference, and Burrows capitalized. So long as you're not one to rant about the immorality of diving, it was a very funny sequence.

- While the goal itself was odious, the Henrik Sedin play to set the goal up was a thing of beauty. Henrik was dynamite five-on-five on Wednesday, and you have to think that if the Canucks had managed to stay out of the box and given him more ice time with which, to go to work - the result would have been different.

On this particular play he entered the zone, dipsy doodled around seemingly every single Kings skater before flipping the puck to Burrows for the original shot (Burrows would eventually score on his own rebound). The goal was uncannily similar to the one Henrik set up against Anaheim, and I think this is a new Canucks set-play where Henrik's line-mates simply stand around in shooting locations, watch their captain handle the puck, and wait for him to possibly feed it to them for the chip shot.

- While the Kings scored two power-play goals, both came off of non-scoring chances and were pretty flukey. Mike Richards' goal on the five-on-three came from an odd angle, well below the circle, and was something of a mcsofty that Luongo really should've had. The other power-play goal that the Kings scored was off of a redirected Willie Mitchell point shot that beat Luongo high. Anytime Willie Mitchell scores a power-play goal against you, you know it's probably not your night. Overall the Kings had eleven and a half minutes of power-play ice-time including two extended five-on-threes and only managed six scoring chances in that time. That's pretty terrible.

- But it's not as terrible as the Canucks power-play, which, managed a grand total of three scoring chances in eight and a half minutes and yet wasn't lucky enough to manage a freebie off of an odd angle shot. The Canucks flukey freebie, rather, came at even-strength in the waning seconds of the second period when Ryan Kesler won a draw, and hauled Anze Kopitar to the ice as Alex Edler teed up a shot that was also deflected and found the back of the net. Don Cherry would've had an aneurism if he'd been up late watching this particular contest.

- Kesler dove on several occasions last night and it's becoming really difficult to support him as a fan. He dove while interfering with Quick on the first goal, he pulled a summersault dive on Mike Richards (which, incidentally, created an odd-man rush), and at one point late in the third he whacked Jarred Stoll in the family jewels with his stick after the whistle. I watched the nut-shot again and reading Stoll's reaction to Kesler's stick work, and I can say with confidence that he told Kesler "man, you're such an ass-hole." Sadly, Stoll's assessment was dead-on.

- Going into this series, I was confident that the "PhD" line would be the Canucks "ace-in-the-hole" as it were. Last night, however, they were completely and utterly ineffective as the Kopitar line just totally manhandled them. Samme Pahlsson was a -7 in even-strength scoring chance differential, Chris Higgins was a -5 and Jannik Hansen was a -4. Vigneault is going to have to go back to the drawing board, because if the club's "first checking line" can't handle one of the Kings top forward lines, then that "big depth advantage" the Canucks apparently have, and that we heard so much about going into this series, isn't going to be worth very much.

- Alex Edler was something of a goat because of a brain-dead giveaway that resulted in Dustin Penner's late game-winner. It was a bad play, by a defenseman who is clearly not the team's best defensive option. That said, Edler had a strong game overall scoring a goal and helping the club to out-chance the Kings when he was on the ice. As good as Edler was for most of the game, however, you can't be making mistakes like that late in playoff games on the team's number one pairing. I'm already curious to see how long this series goes before Hamhuis and Bieksa are reunited. 

- Manny Malhotra, the 2.5 million dollar face-off specialist, was full value last night. He was dominant in the face-off circle, excellent on the penalty kill and finished with a +4 5-on-5 chance differential despite starting twelve shifts in the defensive end and, of course, none in the offensive end of the rink.

- Along with Henrik, Booth and Burrows had borderline dominant games by the chance data, which, is great to see. If the Canucks can solve their third line problems, their top-six group showed on Wednesday that they can simply overpower the Kings top-six in terms of generating chances. Also in terms of taunting. While we haven't been able to find a good video of it, Alex Burrows apparently picked some snow off the ice with the blade of his stick and offered it to Mike Richards, so that he might rail it, late in the third period. Now that is elevating your game for the postseason.

- One final note for our regular readers, the timeonice chance counting app is glitchy in the postseason, so we have to do a manual count. As such, expect our recaps to appear regularly the day after games as opposed to on the night of!

Statistical Three Stars

  1. Henrik Sedin
  2. Aaron Rome
  3. Alex Burrows

Statistical Three Goats

  1. Jarred Stoll
  2. Rob Scuderi
  3. Trevor Lewis

External Resources

Corsi/Fenwick

Zone Starts

Head to Head Time on Ice

Event Summary

Scoring Chance Data

A chance is counted any time a team directs a shot cleanly on-net from within home-plate. Shots on goal and misses are counted, but blocked shots are not (unless the player who blocks the shot is “acting like a goaltender”). Generally speaking, we are more generous with the boundaries of home-plate if there is dangerous puck movement immediately preceding the scoring chance, or if the scoring chance is screened. If you want to get a visual handle on home-plate, check this image. A big thank you to Vic Ferrari whose tracking app enables this entire operation. Yes, there is an app for this!

Scoring Chances for NHL Game Number 30151

Team Period Time Note LAK Opponent  
LAK 1 19:31   7 8 10 32 74 77 1 2 6 7 17 40 5v5
LAK 1 19:06   8 11 14 23 26 32 1 3 20 23 26 36 5v5
LAK 1 19:03   2 11 14 23 27 32 1 3 20 23 26 36 5v5
LAK 1 18:41   2 11 14 23 27 32 1 3 17 20 23 26 5v5
VAN 1 15:46   7 8 13 24 28 32 1 8 14 17 23 33 5v5
VAN 1 15:43 Goal 7 8 13 24 28 32 1 8 14 17 23 33 5v5
LAK 1 11:11   7 8 11 14 23 32 1 2 8 17 26 36 5v5
LAK 1 10:29   7 8 14 25 28 32 1 2 8 21 33 36 5v5
VAN 1 9:10   7 8 22 28 32   1 2 3 7 20 21 4v5
VAN 1 7:29   7 8 10 32 74 77 1 3 7 17 23 40 5v5
LAK 1 6:56   14 23 27 28 32 33 1 2 8 27 36   5v4
LAK 1 6:46   14 23 27 28 32 33 1 2 8 27 36   5v4
VAN 1 3:32   22 24 25 27 32 33 1 2 3 23 27 36 5v5
VAN 1 2:31   11 14 23 26 32 33 1 2 6 7 17 40 5v5
LAK 1 2:01   14 23 27 28 32 33 1 3 23 27 36   5v4
LAK 1 1:09   8 10 11 26 32 77 1 2 8 14 17   5v4
VAN 2 19:14   2 22 25 27 28 32 1 8 14 21 29 33 5v5
VAN 2 19:05   2 22 25 27 28 32 1 8 14 21 29 33 5v5
VAN 2 18:25   7 8 10 14 32 74 1 3 7 17 23 40 5v5
VAN 2 18:21   7 8 10 14 32 74 1 3 7 17 23 40 5v5
VAN 2 15:24   8 11 23 32 33   1 3 21 23 33   4v4
LAK 2 12:35   8 10 11 26 32 77 1 2 6 14 17   5v4
LAK 2 10:32   7 8 11 14 23 32 1 2 3 20 26 36 5v5
LAK 2 4:18   8 10 11 27 32 77 1 2 6 21 40   5v4
VAN 2 4:11   8 10 11 26 32 77 1 2 6 21 40   5v4
VAN 2 2:27   7 8 11 14 23 32 1 2 6 9 14 33 5v5
VAN 2 1:00   7 8 11 32 74 77 1 2 6 7 33 36 5v5
VAN 2 0:33   7 8 11 32 74 77 1 2 6 7 33 36 5v5
LAK 3 19:23   8 10 32 33 74 77 1 3 7 17 23 40 5v5
LAK 3 18:51   11 14 23 26 32 33 1 2 6 20 26 36 5v5
VAN 3 18:00   7 8 22 25 28 32 1 8 14 21 29 33 5v5
VAN 3 17:03   2 23 24 27 32 71 1 3 9 20 23 27 5v5
LAK 3 13:44   11 23 25 27 32 33 1 2 6 9 26 36 5v5
VAN 3 8:50   14 23 26 28 32 33 1 3 9 23 27 33 5v5
VAN 3 7:48   14 23 26 28 32 33 1 8 26 27 29 36 5v5
LAK 3 6:52   7 8 10 32 74 77 1 3 14 21 23 33 5v5
VAN 3 5:14   7 8 10 32 77   1 2 3 14 17 33 4v5
VAN 3 5:08   7 8 10 32 77   1 2 3 14 17 33 4v5
LAK 3 3:15 Goal 7 8 10 25 32 77 1 3 20 23 26 36 5v5

Canucks Skaters

# Player EV PP SH
1 R. LUONGO 38:08 17 12 8:25 3 0 11:28 1 6
2 D. HAMHUIS 11:48 5 6 3:17 3 0 6: 05 1 5
3 K. BIEKSA 15:34 8 6 4:10 3 0 4:53 0 1
6 S. SALO 11:09 4 3 3:57 0 0 3:08 1 2
7 D. BOOTH 11:38 6 2 2:59 1 0 0:00 0 0
8 C. TANEV 12:07 5 2 0:30 0 0 3:12 0 3
9 Z. KASSIAN 5:21 3 1 0:16 0 0 0:00 0 0
14 A. BURROWS 10:51 6 1 5:18 2 0 4:59 0 2
17 R. KESLER 13:22 6 4 5:12 2 0 4:34 0 2
20 C. HIGGINS 9:37 1 6 3:07 1 0 2:35 0 0
21 M. RAYMOND 10:47 4 2 1:25 1 0 0:54 0 0
23 A. EDLER 17:17 10 5 4:42 0 0 4:17 0 1
26 S. PAHLSSON 10:25 1 8 0:14 0 0 2:46 0 0
27 M. MALHOTRA 6:02 4 0 0:00 0 0 4:22 0 3
29 A. ROME 10:14 4 0 0:14 0 0 2:14 0 0
33 H. SEDIN 13:45 10 2 6:19 2 0 0:00 0 0
34 B. BITZ 2:51 0 0 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
36 J. HANSEN 11:16 4 8 0:25 0 0 4:23 0 3
40 M. LAPIERRE 10:06 5 1 0:00 0 0 0:54 1 1

Kings Skaters

# Player EV PP SH
2 M. GREENE 8:34 2 3 0:00 0 0 5:02 0 0
7 R. SCUDERI 17:44 6 9 0:00 0 0 3:21 0 3
8 D. DOUGHTY 17:21 8 10 6:28 3 1 3:21 0 3
10 M. RICHARDS 12:07 4 3 5:59 3 1 3:11 0 2
11 A. KOPITAR 12:36 7 5 5:59 3 1 2:47 0 0
13 K. CLIFFORD 2:12 0 2 0:00 0 0 0:17 0 0
14 J. WILLIAMS 12:00 7 6 5:22 3 0 0:49 0 0
22 T. LEWIS 10:13 0 4 0:25 0 0 2:10 0 1
23 D. BROWN 13:15 7 6 5:03 3 0 1:57 0 0
24 C. FRASER 7:01 0 4 0:04 0 0 0:17 0 0
25 D. PENNER 9:12 3 4 0:25 0 0 0:00 0 0
26 S. VOYNOV 11:08 2 3 5:12 2 1 0:02 0 0
27 A. MARTINEZ 9:11 3 4 5:21 4 0 0:00 0 0
28 J. STOLL 8:18 1 7 5:25 3 0 1:54 0 1
32 J. QUICK 38:55 12 17 11:28 6 1 8:25 0 3
33 W. MITCHELL 14:08 3 5 5:38 3 0 5:04 0 0
71 J. NOLAN 5:42 0 1 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
74 D. KING 12:02 3 5 0:18 0 0 0:00 0 0
77 J. CARTER 10:39 4 3 5:41 3 1 3:28 0 2

Chance Totals (Canucks on the left, Kings on the right).

Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 6 10 5 6 0 4 0 0 1 0 0 0
2 9 3 8 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 6 5 4 5 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0
4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 21 18 17 12 1 6 0 0 3 0 0 0

3136ae487fac57943f99a50e66e4d6cf
Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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#1 Mantastic
April 12 2012, 02:49PM
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man, can you spot the knock off canucks jersey sitting behind the net? terrible. if you can afford playoff tix, you can afford a real jersey people!

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#2 John Andress
April 12 2012, 02:55PM
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I think that the up-side you were looking for in your article is that the Kings played as good a game as they are likely able to play. The Canucks can, and will, get much. much better.

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#3 Mantastic
April 12 2012, 03:20PM
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@John Andress

Kings can play much better.

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#4 peanutflower
April 12 2012, 03:40PM
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Mantastic wrote:

Kings can play much better.

Based on what? This is about as good as the Kings get. They used all their tricks last night. Now it's up to the Canucks to just figure those tricks out. There has to be a reason why they finished first so I'm putting my money on intelligence.

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#5 Right
April 12 2012, 03:50PM
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"Kings Defeat Undisciplined, Diving Canucks in Game 1"

That's some headline. Are you sure you don't work for CBC? Cause you are no better than the media who proclaim the Canucks 'team' are divers cause one player is. People wonder where all the Canucks hate comes from, here is a prime example that is is generated by Canucks bloggers/media.

No one can deny that Kesler is diving and embellishing. But Kesler does not comprise the other 22 members of the Canucks 'team'.

You need to get a grip and stop spreading the hate.

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#6 Junker4ce
April 12 2012, 04:08PM
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@Right

You are going to deny Henrik's flop as soon as he felt the stick between his legs? Or Luongo falling over like he had been shot during that scrum? Just because they weren't highlighted in this article, doesn't mean they didn't happen.

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#7 Right
April 12 2012, 04:17PM
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@Junker4ce

Not sure what you were looking at. There was a stick between Hanks legs as he was crossing over, you call that a dive? And Lu was jabbed with a stick as he lay on the ice, that's a dive?

But for the sake of the argument, let's say you are right and Hank/Lu dove as well. Please tell me how 3 Canuck players = 1 whole team comprised of a 23 person roster.

1 person or 3 people do NOT equal a team.

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#9 Right
April 12 2012, 05:01PM
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@Thomas Drance

Then write that story.

It's one story that the 'team' should be defined by one players actions, and another that the team is comprised of individual parts.

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#10 Mantastic
April 12 2012, 05:03PM
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@peanutflower

Kings didn't even play all that well last night, i've watched them play quite a bit and that's hardly their best outing.

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#11 Kresimir
April 12 2012, 06:27PM
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Kesler's barrel role was embarrassing. But how did he dive "several times"? The end of Quick's stick caught him in the face, FYI. My head would snap back, too.

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#12 Dmac
April 13 2012, 09:36AM
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@Right and @Thomas Drance

Game one fit into the narrative that developed in last year's finals - diving, and being outplayed (badly at times), although no Luongo meltdown. Last year things got out of control as the defence collapsed and Bruins confidence increased. It is only one game, and there is ample opportunity to alter the course. Burrows best game in the finals was game 2 when he was chastened - his own father complained to him. Lets hope for a repeat. But something must be said and said in the right way ... and only those inside the dressing room can do that.

Tonight is a key moment for this team. That may sound obvious, but a loss tonight and people will talk of a sweep!

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#13 John Andress
April 13 2012, 09:51AM
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Mantastic wrote:

Kings didn't even play all that well last night, i've watched them play quite a bit and that's hardly their best outing.

The Canucks have watched them too. Beaten them twice, in fact and lost one in a shoot-out. Overall, the Canucks finished 51/22/9 scoring 249 goals (3.03 pg) and gave up 198. The Kings finished 40/27/15 (that's a lot of loser points), scored 194 goals (2.36 pg) and gave up 179. I think that I like the proposition that we *have* seen the best of the Kings whilst the Canucks have not even approached their best yet. Fortunately, they will have the opportunity to play as many as six more games to answer the question. The series will not be decided by your opinion or mine no matter how strongly believed, stated in the comments section of an internet blog. It's why they play the games. In the meantime, however, and for the record, I think you are wrong.

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#14 Paul
April 13 2012, 10:08AM
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Nice stats but I think you have missed the critical issue - the King forwards are too big for the Canucks D to handle for an entire game. Kops roams almost at will, sheltering the puck behind the Canucks net. Lose the grind and lose the game and series.

http://kings.nhl.com/club/roster.htm

Kings in 6.

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#15 Dmac
April 13 2012, 10:12AM
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@John Andress

There was a few minutes of play before the Bitz penalty where I scared that the Kings were going to win this easily. Kopitar's line was just dominant. The Kings were pre-season favourites of some in the media for a reason, and there were more than glimpses of that in game one. I am sure the Canucks can raise their game to win tonight, but without Daniel, I am not sure they can win the series - unless someone emerges as a great fit with Hendrik and Burrows.

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#16 Clayton Abernathy
April 13 2012, 10:35AM
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The LA Kings are probably the most underrated 8th Place teams in a long time.

They finished the Regular Season with the second best GAA in the league (2.07 Goals against per game). Only St. Louis was better (1.89).

The Kings finished the season with just 2 regulation losses in their final 14 games.

Many point out the Canucks finished the season 5th in Goals Scored per Game (2.94) while the Kings finished the year 29th (2.29). While this is true...the reality is the Kings averaged 3.14 goals per game in their final 14 games and 3.01 goals per game in their final 30 games.

During their final 14 games the Canucks averaged just 2.57 goals per game.

The series is far from over...but the Kings clearly showed they are no underdog. The Canucks better figure that out before the are out in 5.

Pressure is fully on the Canucks...the Kings already have the split guaranteed heading home. While a 2-0 lead would be nice...it is far less important to the Kings than going down 2-0 would be to the Nucks.

Go Rangers Go!

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#17 John Andress
April 13 2012, 10:48AM
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Dmac wrote:

There was a few minutes of play before the Bitz penalty where I scared that the Kings were going to win this easily. Kopitar's line was just dominant. The Kings were pre-season favourites of some in the media for a reason, and there were more than glimpses of that in game one. I am sure the Canucks can raise their game to win tonight, but without Daniel, I am not sure they can win the series - unless someone emerges as a great fit with Hendrik and Burrows.

There was nothing "easy" about this win for the Kings. Despite the Kings playing an inspired game and the Canucks providing an undisciplined, sub-par effort, the Kings were unable to score the game winning goal against a resurgent Canucks effort until there was only 3:14 leftin the game. This win took their all.

By the way, Mr. Drance, the irony of me citing very superficial statistics in support of my argument in, of all places, your blog, does not escape me. I hope that you are not offended.

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#18 Clint
April 13 2012, 12:45PM
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@John Andress

Fair Canucks commentary blog. Alert..Kings fan here...and although this was a very good game for us...I know we can play better. The issue will be our maturity while playing with a game in hand. Quick can be MUCH better...Doughty can be MUCH better...Carter can be MUCH better, Kopitar WILL be much better, Stoll and Williams can be better...and despite the heroic goal, Penner's last 25 games have been predominitaly MUCH better. for only 10 minutes of ice time...he was ok. He has been a factor down the stretch and game was wasn't anything stupendous other than Carters kick to him which he nearly rang off the post. Pancakes will get another game winner this series...or a critical goal at least. FYI...I LOVE the intelligent site. Great Job Canucks Army!

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