Los Angeles Hockey: Slava Voyov

Kings: Nothing safe about this lead vs. Canucks

April, 12, 2012

Western Conference Quarterfinals

Game 2

Kings vs. Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena, 7 p.m.

(Kings lead the best-of-seven series, 1-0)

Five storylines to track:

1. One is done – The Kings needed that one. Not just to grab a 1-0 series lead, or steal home-ice advantage from the top-seeded Canucks. They needed to win Game 1 because they had outplayed Vancouver in every facet of the game except the scoreboard. Dustin Penner, of all players, gave the Kings a reason to exhale when he scored with about 3 minutes remaining to give the Kings a 3-2 lead. Dustin Brown, the longest-tenured member of the team, cemented the victory with an empty-net goal in the final minute. The Kings deserved the victory and they got it, putting themselves in position to drop the Canucks in a deep hole even before the series heads to L.A.

2. History lesson – For the third straight year, the Kings have swiped away home-ice advantage in the opening two games. They were up 2-games-to-1 against the Canucks two years ago and held a one-goal lead with 13 minutes remaining in Game 4, but folded like a cheap deck chair under a 400-pound man. Last season, they evened the series, 1-1, in San Jose and owned a 4-0 lead in Game 3 at Staples Center before giving the game away in one of the great collapses in franchise history. As happy as some seemed to win Game 1, from the team’s Twitter keeper to Joe Fan, the Kings haven’t accomplished anything yet. As long as the players and coaches realize that, everything should be fine.

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