The Goods: Heading home tied
Hank the tank with the game-winner late
You want to know what happened in the Canucks game and you want to know now. We get it. Here’s the bare bones recap of Vancouver’s 6-4 win over Los Angeles in Game 4 of their Western Conference series.
IT WAS OVER WHEN...
…NHL Art Ross champion Henrik Sedin scored his biggest goal of the season with 2:52 left in the third period to give the Canucks a 5-4 lead in a series-saving 6-4 win over the Kings.
Vancouver took a blow in the first period with Los Angeles opening the scoring - on the power play. Special teams have been an issue for the Canucks throughout the series and they remedied part of that early in the second with a power play strike of their own courtesy of Christian Ehrhoff.
The Kings were quick to reply with a second goal on the man advantage, yet unlike Game 3 when LA’s power play supremacy swung the game, Vancouver was unwavering.
Pavol Demitra’s first goal of the post-season helped the Canucks even things up again late in the second; the Kings came back with a swift goal to carry a 3-2 advantage into the third.
Vancouver’s third game-tying goal was scored by Mikael Samuelsson midway through the final period, it was followed by a Sami Salo power play rocket that gave the Canucks their first lead of the game at 4-3.
Frantic third period play had the Kings back on even terms at 4-4 with less than seven minutes to play before Henrik flew down the right wing and cut in on goal beating Jonathan Quick stick side off the iron and in to vault Vancouver in front. Again.
The Canucks withheld a final frenzied push by the Kings and Ryan Kesler added an insurance goal to cap off the win.
In this back-and-forth game of mammoth momentum changes, Roberto Luongo provided the biggest when he stopped Alexander Frolov on a breakaway early in the third period prior to Samuelsson’s goal.
Luongo had 22 saves, none clutcher than the Frolov robbery.
Whether Henrik Sedin wins the Hart Trophy this season or not, he’s proven time and time again he’s more than worthy of it and him seizing the moment in Game 4 is another shining example of his brilliance.
Hank, who had just one goal in his last 16 outings, scored his third career post-season game-winner and chipped in an assist in Vancouver’s 6-4 win; brother Daniel added three helpers and the Sedins now have 11 points between them this post-season.
Marching up the franchise all-time playoff scoring list, Henrik has already left Greg Adams, Markus Naslund and Stan Smyl in his dust to sit seventh overall with 35 points, while Daniel is even with Adams in eighth with 34.
Just when the Kings were attempting to build on their 1-0 lead, Christian Ehrhoff blew a shot past Quick thanks to the battle for prime screening real estate Steve Bernier won against Sean O’Donnell in front of the LA goal.
The first goal from a Canucks defenceman evened the game up at 1-1 and was the start of a comeback effort that had Vancouver erase three LA leads.
Ehrhoff’s first of the playoffs counts as the third of his career, although it’s his first goal since the 2005-06 post-season, a string of 31 games. He had eight assists over that stretch.
In backstopping the Canucks to their second post-season win this season, Roberto Luongo did more than transform this series into a best-of-three, he also moved into second all-time in playoff wins in franchise history.
Luongo has picked up victories 12 and 13 of his career during the 2010 Playoffs to move him one past Richard Brodeur with three less post-season games played.
Two losses have also come Luongo’s way against the Kings, which has moved him into a tie with Dan Cloutier for third most in team history.
Kirk McLean leads the Canucks in both wins and losses with a record of 34-34, 21 wins and 21 losses more than Luongo' 13-13 record, in 42 more starts.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
First the worst, second the best.
I remember exclaiming that back in the day whenever I lost a foot race and it seems to be ringing true in this series.
Through four games, whichever team has opened the scoring has gone on to lose the contest. LA beat Vancouver to the board in games 1 and 4, while Vancouver jumped ahead in games 2 and 3.
This new trend bucks the regular season stats when scoring first for both teams; the Canucks were fourth in the NHL with a winning percentage of .795% when scoring first, the Kings weren’t far behind in seventh at .739%.
FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Henrik Sedin on thinking shot instead of pass on the game-winning goal, Vancouver needing the win and the wild momentum changes in the third period:
”When I got it from Danny I saw someone going to the far side there, but I thought I needed to shoot this one. If I would have passed it and they would have blocked it or something, I would have been pretty mad at myself.
”We needed this game badly, we knew that coming in, it’s tough to come back from a 3-1 deficit. The guys battled hard tonight and I thought the PK was better too, that’s a huge step for us.
”That’s playoffs. You look at every game in every series and it’s a big goal and all of the sudden the momentum has changed. That’s what the playoffs are all about.”
The Canucks will rest up in Los Angeles before returning home Thursday morning.
Vancouver and LA resume their now best-of-three series Friday night at General Motors Place, where the teams split the opening two games of the series.
If someone has an edge in this series going into Game 5, it's by a sliver. Although the Kings are on fire on special teams, the Canucks are handling them at even strength.
2-2 tie, Game 5 Friday
0 – Games won by the team that opens the scoring.
5 – Post-season goals for Mikael Samuelsson, tying a career-high.
11 – Points for the Sedins, through four games.
13 – Career playoff wins for Roberto Luongo, second all-time behind Kirk McLean's 34.
17 – Third period shots for Vancouver, four were goals.
The Sedins stepped up in a big way, but secondary scoring was key to Vancouver's win. Ten players recorded at least a point, including Mikael Samuelsson who scored his NHL-high fifth goal of the post-season.
Both teams were 2-for-4 on the power play; the Canucks are now 4-for-15 in the series, while the Kings continue to sizzle at 9-for-16.