Game 4 had a similar feel to it to Vancouver vs Chicago in game 6 last year. The main difference, of course, is that the Canucks found a way to win this one. They did it on the backs of their top players.
I’m going to put most of the blame on the shoulder of Kevin Bieksa on the first LA goal, and apart from that you couldn’t blame Luongo much on the goals that beat him. More importantly, he made some spectacular saves to keep his team in it. His breakaway save on Alexander Frolov in the 3rd period was probably his biggest.
Luongo had a bounce-back game in game 4, but it was Daniel and Henrik Sedin who stole the show. After a sub-par 1st and 2nd period, and a sub-par series (apart from game 1), the Sedins stepped up big time. They put up a combined five points in the third period, including a great goal by Henrik Sedin to seal it with less than three minutes to play. Never in my life have I seen Henrik Sedin that happy or that emotional.
That brings me to my next point, the Sedins are studs. It has been well chronicled that they are no longer the “Sedin Sisters”, but it’s more than that. Now, no longer are they a couple of quiet good players. They’re superstars now, and they’re doing it all. Before game 4, Daniel and Henrik approached Alain Vigneault about killing penalties. They wanted to step up, they wanted to do it all. And do it all they did. It was Henrik Sedin stepping up and calming down Shane O’Brien during his yelling match with Rick Bowness and it was Henrik Sedin refusing to get off a puck, killing valuable time late in the game, with 4 Kings Players spearing him.
Other random thoughts about game 4:
I thought the Canucks came out looking terrified of taking a penalty in the 1st and 2nd period, and for good reason. The problem with that is that playing terrified to take a penalty makes it hard to win puck battles, and consequently, the Kings had the puck a lot more.
The Canucks still gave up two power play goals on four chances, which is bad, but I believe there is light at the end of the tunnel. The first man advantage goal by Drew Doughty was a product of nervousness by Kevin Bieksa. Too nervous to allow Luongo to cover the puck, he tried to clear the puck, giving it right to Doughty. The Kings second goal by Dustin Brown was just a good shot off of a faceoff. My point? The Kings didn’t pick apart the Canucks with great plays on the power play last night, despite the great percentage.
The Canucks have been the better team 5-on-5 in this series. If that continues, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out if they can match the Kings on special teams, they should win the game. The Kings and Canucks both scored two power play goals in game 4.
Kevin Bieksa struggled mightily last night. He was on the ice for three of the Kings four goals and was a -2. Conversely, Shane O’Brien was +2.
I think Alex Burrows is playing with an injury. He hasn’t been noticeable, was taken off the top line and has been a part of the woeful penalty killing unit. Not very Burrows-like.
The Kings fans sure are loud. Louder than GM Place for sure. I’m not sure they know all the rules or watch all the games, but they sure are loud.
Got to love all the Canucks fans that made the trip down to LA. Heard of a few nasty incidents on Team 1040 radio of Kings fans throwing beer/popcorn on them, sounds like they went over the line. I’m also sure it was still well worth it.
Love the nastiness developing between the teams at the end of the game last night. This is officially a series! And it looks like a classic so far.