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!
April 12 2012 01:18AM
Following the team's victory over the Vancouver Canucks in the first game of the Western Conference Quarterfinal on Wednesday night, the Kings official Twitter account (@LAKings) tweeted an amusing, trolly joke. The joke - seen above in a screen shot - comically referenced the well worn "the Canucks aren't Canada's team" narrative, and did so in a way that wasn't offensive, classless, cheap or inappropriate.
This wasn't a comment about Kesler's diving, it wasn't a tweet editorializing about Bitz's injurious hit on Kyle Clifford, and it wasn't a comment about what happened in last years Stanley Cup Finals. This was a harmless joke about the - frankly indisputable - fact that the LA Kings have picked up some news fans this week who will root for the team at least through this series.
Of course Canucks fans, fresh off of watching their team lose a postseason game and feeling particularly sensitive, promptly reacted to the tweet as if it was something offensive and juvenile. It's playoff time, baby!
Read past the jump!
April 11 2012 04:31PM
(Photo from redditer lebutdelavie)
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April 11 2012 04:09PM
The first round of the playoffs starts tonight, and once again the writers of the Nation Network are getting together to predict who they feel will win each series in the first round.
April 11 2012 01:59PM
We've still only seen 56 games out of David Booth, so we don't really know what to expect in the NHL playoffs from him. Similar to Booth (by his performance on an advanced boxscore, not necessarily by his playing style) is Christopher Higgins, and while he's only played 110 games in a Canucks uniform - we're damn sure he's an impact player.
The weird thing is that Higgins and Booth have morphed into threats at both ends of the ice, each having replaced Ryan Kesler to some degree in the role of the "American two-way forward" on the team. That's not, well, exactly true, but by analyzing scoring chance data we find some really similar things about the two players.