Kings: First-round playoff primer

April, 8, 2012
4/08/12
10:13
AM PT
QUICK FIRST LOOK

Opponent: Vancouver Canucks.

Records: Kings, 40-27-15, 95 points (8th in Western Conference); Canucks 51-22-9, 111 points (1st in Western Conference).

Playoff Schedule: Wednesday @ Vancouver; Friday @ Vancouver; Sunday @ L.A.; April 11 @ L.A.; April 22 @ Vancouver (if needed); April 24 @ L.A. (if needed); April 22 @ Vancouver (if needed).

Previous meetings this season:

Nov. 10 @ Staples CenterCanucks 3, Kings 2

The Canucks grabbed a three-goal lead in the first-period and never looked back, leaving the Kings winless for the sixth time in seven games. That pretty much erased their 6-2-1 start to the season. On the positive side, the game marked the debut of Kings fourth-line center Colin Fraser, who turned out to be a key piece of the puzzle this season. Fraser, acquired in the offseason trade that sent Ryan Smyth back to Edmonton, sat out training camp and the first six weeks of the season while recovering from foot surgery and waiting for this shot to crack the lineup. He became a mainstay for the season, even earning the team's Masterton Trophy nomination for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

Dec. 31 @ Staples CenterKings 4, Canucks 1

Playing a home game on New Year’s Eve for just the second time in franchise history, Kings center Anze Kopitar ended a career-long 17-game goal-less streak, and coach Darryl Sutter improved to 4-0-2 since replacing Terry Murray 10 days earlier. Canucks defenseman Keith Ballard may have set the tone for this series when he speared Kings forward Kyle Clifford behind the Vancouver net, then sucker-punched him after Clifford fell to the ice. Ballard has been out since February with concussion symptoms, but those cheap shots just added to the disdain between these two clubs and their fans.

Jan. 17 @ Rogers Arena – Kings, 3, Canucks 2 (SO)

The Kings were still trying to establish some footing when they rolled into Vancouver following an overtime loss in Edmonton two nights earlier. They hung with the Canucks long enough to win in a shootout, but the game was probably best remembered for a rare goal from beleaguered left wing Dustin Penner. Kings right wing Justin Williams also had a goal in regulation and another in the shootout in what turned out to be the fifth game of a season-long nine-game point streak.

March 26 @ Rogers ArenaCanucks 1, Kings 0

After not seeing the Canucks for more than two months, the Kings paid another visit up north to kick off a key four-game road trip, one that would determine their postseason fate. They were stonewalled by Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo, sending them tumbling out of the top eight in the Western Conference with six games remaining. They regrouped to finish 2-1-1 on the road trip and pull themselves back inside the cutoff, where they stayed for the remainder of the season. That same day, Vancouver made the first public admission that leading goal scorer Daniel Sedin had a concussion, which caused him to miss the last nine games of the regular season and put him in jeopardy of missing playoff time.

Playoff fact: The Kings and Canucks met in the first round two years ago, with the Canucks winning in six games.

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