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Instant Reaction: Canucks make things interesting despite Kings’ best effort, lose 3-2

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
17 days ago
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Welcome to Instant Reaction — the series here at CanucksArmy where we give you our instant reaction to the game and ask our readers to do the same in the comments section below! Wyatt Arndt is on The Stanchies and Mike Liu will have the Statsies — CA’s analytics-based post game report — up tomorrow morning.
It was made evident almost immediately that this game would have a playoff-like feel. And no, not just because it was likely to be a low-scoring affair thanks to LA’s ultra-boring neutral zone trap and overall style of play.
No, what made it clear was some physicality early on. Nikita Zadorov set the tone big time with a massive hit on Blake Lizotte:
Adrian Kempe took things too far and gave the Canucks their first power play of the game.
The Canucks’ power play continued to look dangerous, with Pius Suter getting their most dangerous chance on goal. Nothing against Suter — he’s been a brilliant addition and a jack-of-all-trades at even strength — but it feels like the Canucks are kidding themselves each day they keep Nils Höglander out of that spot on the first power play unit. They need a left-shot finisher to make Miller on the half-wall work, and aside from Suter, Höglander is the only real option. I think it’s time to at least give him a look.
The Kings killed off the game’s first penalty and quickly took advantage of a bad Canucks line change and defensive breakdown to open the scoring.
As you may have seen, the Canucks had four players on the ice (just one defenceman) because nobody came on for Quinn Hughes.
The Canucks seemed to be the better team in the first period, and evened up the score when Todd f****ing Bertuzzi Sam Lafferty made a power move to the net and tucked the puck past Cam Talbot:
Goals, hits, and overall tight-checking. This was certainly feeling like a playoff game after 20 minutes of play.
This continued in the second period as the hits kept coming. This game really was so tight, almost like a playoff game.
And just like in the playoffs, goals were hard to come by at even strength, and this game’s tie wasn’t broken until Carson Soucy went to the box for tripping with less than five minutes left in the second period. Blake Lizotte scored to give the Kings their second lead of the night:
Casey DeSmith has been so good since being thrust into the starter’s role after Thatcher Demko went down with a knee injury that tonight may be one of the only nights you could say he allowed a goal he maybe should have had.
Then, with less than two minutes to go in the period, Anze Kopitar cleaned up the trash to make it 3-1 Kings heading into the third period.
Despite seeming like the better team to this point, the Canucks found themselves down by two. And that’s what the Kings do. They sustain your attack, keep you to the outside as best they can, and wait for you to make a mistake. And when you do, they’re ready to pounce.
And once they have a lead, the Kings are basically experts at locking things down and ramping up the boring hockey levels to new highs to see the victory through.
The Canucks kept pushing and reunited the Lotto Line late in the third. Unfortunately, Brock Boeser was called for interference on this play, cutting into their comeback time.
With four and a half minutes to go, the Canucks pulled their goalie as they aggressively tried to erase the two goal deficit. A minute and a half later, the Canucks scored to pull within one after a Brock Boeser deflected into the LA goal.
The next couple of minutes were absolutely thrilling as the Canucks pushed to tie things up with DeSmith pulled once again. It was high-event and entertaining. It was everything that the LA Kings despise.
To make things even more exciting, Drew Doughty tripped Elias Pettersson and gave the Canucks a 6-on-4 power play for 20 seconds. Unfortunately, the Canucks came up just short, and will have to wait another day before they officially clinch a playoff spot.
What’s your instant reaction to tonight’s game? Let us know in the comments section below!

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