Los Angeles Hockey: Jannik Hansen

Kings: Time to put this one in the bag

April, 22, 2012
Western Conference Quarterfinals

Kings vs. the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena, 5 p.m.

Game 5 (Kings lead the series, 3-1)

Five storylines to track:

1. Deep breaths -- It’s certainly not panic time. No, the hyperventilating will occur tonight if the Kings don’t wrap up this series with a win. The Kings earned the first two victories of the series in Vancouver, got outplayed but stole a win in Game 3, and in Game 4, they delivered the better performance, but the bounces finally went Vancouver’s way. Even when the Kings were up 3-0 in the series, getting that elusive fourth victory has been viewed as an enormous barrier. Right now, that brick wall looks to be about 10 feet tall.

2. Physical edge -- The Kings delivered 50 hits in Game 4, the most in their past 15 playoff games dating to the 2009-10 season. Only one was placed on Daniel Sedin, who was making his first appearance after missing the previous 12 games with a concussion. In the locker room afterward, the Kings talked about making life harder on Sedin in Game 5, and they maintained that attitude in the days that followed. Don’t expect the Kings to make a Raffi Torres-like run at Sedin; that’s not their style, but they'll likely give him a bump every chance they get.

3. Three-day delay -- In an unusual scheduling quirk brought about by limited arena availability, the Kings and Canucks had to wait three days between Games 4 and 5. That probably benefited Vancouver more than it did the Kings. Most importantly, it gave Sedin an extra couple of days to get back in shape after sitting for four weeks. Hopefully, the Kings used the extra time to study their power play, which has come up empty on its last 13 man-advantage situations, nearly matching Vancouver’s 0-for-14 start to the series. If the Kings can’t at least stay even with Vancouver in the special teams battles, they have little chance of closing the series tonight.

4. MVP time -- Kings coach Darryl Sutter continues to lay down the challenges for goalie Jonathan Quick, the team's most valuable player during the regular season. He said Friday that for the Kings to be successful, they needed Quick to be as good as Vancouver goalie Cory Schneider, who has started the last two games in place of Roberto Luongo and held the Kings to two goals. Quick has been fabulous in the series, highlighted by his 1-0 shutout in Game 3, but the Canucks scored on two long-range shots in Game 4. If Quick is truly a Vezina Trophy-caliber goalie, he might need to step up and win this series by himself.

5. Line changes -- The Canucks made some adjustments to their scoring lines the last couple of days, putting Alex Burrows, Ryan Kesler and Maxim Lapierre on the second line, and dropping Jannik Hansen to the third line and Mason Raymond to the fourth. The move should spread out their offense and make them tougher to defend. Raymond is not a typical fourth liner, producing 10 goals and 10 assists in 52 regular-season games.

Kings: Dustin Brown comes up short in 4-2 victory vs. Canucks

April, 13, 2012
Dustin BrownAP Photo/Jonathan HaywardDustin Brown, center, celebrates one of his two goals with Jeff Carter, left, and Mike Richards.
Western Conference Quarterfinals

Game 2

Kings 4, Vancouver Canucks 2

Eight keys to the game:

THE FACTS: Special teams usually play a key role in any playoff series, and Friday night the Kings were extra special, getting two short-handed goals from Dustin Brown and another from Jarret Stoll on the power play at Rogers Arena in Vancouver to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

THE STAT: The last time the Kings scored a short-handed goal in the playoffs was in June 1993. The last time they scored two in a playoff game was a month earlier. Brown also became the first NHL player to score two short-handers in the postseason since John Madden of the New Jersey Devils in a playoff game against the New York Rangers in 2006.

TURNING POINT: With the score tied 1-1 five minutes into the second period, Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell went to the penalty box for holding. About 10 seconds later, Vancouver tried to pass the puck back to defenseman Dan Hamhuis, but it was out of his reach. Brown pounced on the puck and set off on a breakaway. He faked a forehand shot on Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo and then beat him with a backhand at the 5:17 mark of the second period for a 2-1 lead.

HOT: Counting his empty-net goal to seal the Game 1 victory, Brown scored three straight goals for the Kings. The Kings also continued to be dominant on the penalty kill, snuffing out all five man-advantage opportunities for the Canucks, dropping them to 0-for-10 for the series. Mitchell, a key member of the penalty-kill unit, finished with a team-high six blocked shots and Colin Fraser had a team-leading six hits.

NOT: Vancouver Canucks forward Henrik Sedin continues to look lost without his twin brother, Daniel, who missed his 11th consecutive game because of a concussion. He had a game-high five giveaways.

GOOD MOVE: The Kings gave away a 2-1 lead in the final seconds of the second period in Game 1, and were in a similar situation in Game 2. They were gassed and the Canucks were coming with heavy pressure in the offensive zone. That’s when Kings goalie Jonathan Quick stepped up with his best save of the game, shooting out his left pad to stop Ryan Kesler’s shot from the doorstep and the Kings were able to get into the second intermission with their one-goal lead still intact. Quick finished with 46 saves.

BAD MOVE: After the Kings took a 4-1 lead on a wraparound goal by Trevor Lewis with 5:09 remaining, they took their foot off the gas pedal and went into a prevent-style shell. That didn’t work too well as the Canucks cut the deficit back to two goals with 3:31 remaining. Vancouver pulled Luongo with little less than two minutes left and the Kings were then left short-handed after Rob Scuderi went to the penalty box for cross-checking.

NOTABLE: Since 1987, the team that has won Game 2 has won the series 70 percent of the time. … The Kings won their fourth straight playoff game on the road dating to last season, a franchise record. ... This is the second time in franchise history the Kings have taken a 2-0 series lead. The other time was in 1968.

UP NEXT: Game 3, Sunday at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.

Quick Reaction: Canucks 3, Kings 2

November, 10, 2011
LOS ANGELES -- There was one thing the Los Angeles Kings knew they couldn’t do coming into their game with the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night -- give them the man advantage.

Vancouver came into the game with the second- best power play in the NHL at 26.4 percent and on Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Canucks scored five times on the man advantage during a 6-2 win.

So what did the Kings do within the first six minutes of the game? You guessed it.

The Kings had a catastrophic opening to the game with Trevor Lewis getting a five-minute major penalty and Drew Doughty picking up a cross-checking penalty within the first six minutes. Vancouver is deadly enough with a one-man advantage; give them a two-man advantage and your fate is all but sealed.

Vancouver scored two goals on the 5-on-3 advantage with Sami Salo taking a pass from Daniel Sadin and slipping the puck past Jonathan Quick with 6:51 gone by in the first period. About a minute later the Canucks took a 2-0 lead when Andrew Ebbert attempted a centering pass that deflected off Willie Mitchell’s skate and went into the net.

Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome pushed the lead to 3-0 with 4:18 remaining in the period when his slap shot in front of a crowded next beat the outstretched glove of Quick. The Kings were outshot 12-3 in a forgettable first period that essentially put the game out of reach before it ever really began.

Los Angeles finally got on the board with a power play goal with 9:30 remaining in the second period when Doughty’s one-time shot pulled the Kings to within 3-1. The Canucks almost responded at the end of the period but had a goal disallowed in the final minute because Jannik Hansen interfered with Quick.

With an empty net and one minute left in the game the Kings finally cut the Canucks’ lead to 3-2 when Mike Richards’ shot deflected into the net but that would be as close as the Kings would get as Vancouver held on for the win.

Ducks: So close to L.A. but far from Vancouver

March, 7, 2011

ANAHEIM -- A return to the top eight was just 60 minutes away.

All the Ducks needed was a victory Sunday evening against the visiting Vancouver Canucks and they would leapfrog over the eighth-place Kings in the Western Conference standings.

But the Vancouver Canucks have a way of putting things in perspective.

A day after winning in Los Angeles, the Canucks backed up that performance with a model of efficiency, deflating Anaheim by scoring in the opening minute of the first and second periods and ending their hopes of winning four in a row by scoring a power-play goal in the third.

Vancouver took just 16 shots in the game but that was enough to secure a workmanlike 3-0 victory at Honda Center.

“We didn’t seem to find any emotional level,” said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “I don’t remember us having any extended periods of grind shifts in the zone, and we didn’t do a very good job on the forecheck.”

Everything was in place for the Ducks to move up in the standings.

They were facing a Vancouver team that was playing its second road game in two days. Nevermind the Canucks were 7-1-2 on the season with zero days rest, they would surely be heavy in the legs after killing six penalties the day before, right?

To make conditions ever more favorable, the Canucks decided to suit up second-string goalie Cory Schneider and give Roberto Luongo some rest after securing his 300th career victory against Los Angeles.

Schneider is probably best known for his offensive skills, getting two assists earlier this season against Tampa Bay to tie a franchise record, but he gave a Luongo-type performance while stopping 26 shots for his first career shutout in his 29th career game. The Ducks gave themselves some good looks but just couldn’t find the net.

“We weren’t as crisp as we wanted to be,” said Ducks leading scorer Corey Perry.

Any excitement the home team built coming into the game was dulled when Manny Malhotra scored his 100th career goal 42 seconds into the game on a 2-on-1 breakaway with Jannik Hansen.

“The guy with the puck was right in the middle of the ice, so you can’t kind of cheat or anything,” said Ducks goalkeeper Dan Ellis. “You try to make a read and [Malhotra’s shot] hit the back of my glove instead of the inside of my glove … chalk it up as a good shot.”

And a good sign for the Canucks. Coming into the game, they had won 81% of the games in which they scored first.

The Ducks managed to avoid any further damage the remainder of the period, but 17 seconds into the second, Malhotra and Hansen teamed up again after stealing the puck from Ducks rookie defenseman Cam Fowler, who was also on the ice for Malhotra's first goal.

“Certainly, they had timely goals at the beginning of periods,” said forward Brad Winchester. “In these playoff-type games, it’s all about momentum and it seems like they were able to create momentum at key times.”

Now the Ducks get a couple days of practice before hosting the New York Rangers on Wednesday. With the way the standings shuffle by the day, the Ducks might have more than just Los Angeles to pass by then.