Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Kings: Anze Kopitar scores for 1-0 lead vs. Canucks
By Dan Arritt
Western Conference Quarterfinals
Game 4 (Kings lead the series, 3-0)
After the 1st period:
Kings 1, Vancouver Canucks 0
The good: The Canucks brought out Daniel Sedin, the Kings brought out the kitchen sink. They dominated the opening period almost from the opening drop, getting chance after chance before Anze Kopitar finally put one past Vancouver goalie Cory Schneider with seven minutes remaining in the opening period. The Kings were stuck in their end for a bit, but Justin Williams managed to slide the puck up the wall and out of their zone. Kopitar picked it up in the neutral zone and evaded a check from Mason Raymond at the blue line, leaving him with a 2-on-1. He elected to shoot the puck from the right faceoff circle and beat Schneider up high over his glove for his first goal of the series and third playoff goal of his career. Williams earned an assist for the fourth consecutive game. The Kings finished with a 13-7 advantage in shots on goal, and probably an 8-1 advantage in Grade A scoring chances. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick has posted four consecutive shutout periods. His best save came with just over four minutes remaining when he stuffed Dan Hamhuis from about 13 feet out. The Kings are also getting solid shifts out of their fourth line of Colin Fraser, Brad Richardson and Jordan Nolan.
The bad: The Kings could easily be up by two or three goals. Dwight King had a couple cracks at a juicy rebound about six minutes into the game but couldn’t get it over the pads of Schneider. Dustin Brown was alone in front of the net but couldn’t get the good part of the blade on a centering pass from Williams. Alec Martinez and Trevor Lewis also had excellent chances but couldn’t light the lamp. Expect the Canucks to feel somewhat fortunate it’s only 1-0 and come out with a better effort in this elimination game.
The in between: Sedin, the team’s leading goal scorer who missed the previous 12 games with a concussion, came out on the ice on game’s third shift. He delivered a hit on Willie Mitchell about 7 ˝ minutes into the game, his first contact since taking an elbow from Duncan Keith of Chicago on March 21. He took two shots, but both were off target.