Los Angeles Hockey: Alex Edler
April, 11, 2012
By Dan Arritt | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Rich Lam/Getty ImagesAnze Kopitar and Mike Richards celebrate Richards' goal in the first period of a 4-2 win over Vancouver.Western Conference Quarterfinals
Kings 4, Vancouver Canucks 2
Eight keys to the game:
THE FACTS: Dustin Penner, the beleaguered left wing for the Kings, scored the go-ahead goal with 3:14 remaining Wednesday night at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, and Dustin Brown sealed the victory with an empty netter with 18 seconds left, as L.A. took away home-ice advantage with the victory against the top-seeded Canucks.
THE STAT: Penner, a four-time 20-goal scorer and Stanley Cup winner with the Ducks in 2007, had scored seven goals all season and didn’t produce a point in the previous nine games. All of that was forgotten when he banged home the eighth playoff goal of his seven-year career to break a 2-2 tie.
TURNING POINT: The Kings had just killed off Vancouver’s fifth power play of the game when Vancouver defenseman Alex Edler elected to clear the puck through the middle of the ice, rather than play it safely along the boards. His pass hit Mike Richards in the chest, keeping the puck in the offensive zone. He passed it to Jeff Carter to his right, but the puck hit Carter’s skate and he appeared to direct it across the slot to Penner, who hit the wide-open side of the net for a 3-2 lead.
HOT: Richards had one of his best games in months. He not only forced the turnover and set up the game winner, but he scored the first goal by the Kings to tie the score, 1-1, with 6:29 remaining in the opening period. While on the power play, Richards had the puck down low and fooled Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo by shooting the puck through his pads, rather than making a cross-ice pass in front of the crease. Richards also showed his physical side, laying a big hit on Vancouver right wing Alex Burrows in the game’s final minute. Richards was among the team leaders with four hits.