Kings at Canucks: New Year, Same Old — PSYCHE!
Toward the end of this game’s third period I started to write another sad recap about the Kings playing well but losing, and then they scored two goals less than a minute apart to win. I deleted my recap in a haze of excitement and some disbelief, feeling so elated that I essentially went to sleep immediately.
Now it’s the next day, and I’m listening to Kanye West’s “Champion” on repeat while I look at Tyler Toffoli throw himself into the skaters’ hug pile.
Though the Canucks came out well enough for the first couple minutes, the Kings took over from there. They’d outshot the Canucks 12-3 when Dustin Brown took a tripping penalty. The Kings’ kill has been struggling lately, and it let them down yet again here. On the Canuck’s fourth shot of the game, they went up 1-0.
Happy new year; nothing had changed. The Kings were still allowing goals in the first period. Outplaying their opponents on the road during the opening twenty was a nice shake-up. The outshot the Canucks 16-8 and controlled 58 percent of possession. There was no reason to think they couldn’t come back if they continued to control the pace in the second period.
Or they could make it tougher for themselves. Fine. I’m not the boss of them.
The Canucks’ second goal came not long after a lackluster Kings attempt at a power play. Vancouver picked up some momentum from that and capitalized.
Eleven minutes later, something actually went right for Mike Richards. He took two shots on Ryan Miller, and Dwight King eventually tapped in a rebound to make the score 2-1.
That goal didn’t open the floodgates for the Kings but it allowed them to head into the third period confident. It took until late in regulation, but Justin Williams eventually picked a tiny corner on the power play and hit his target, the puck flying past Miller. 2-2.
Relief became joy when Tanner Pearson’s strong effort to keep control of the puck on the boards in the offensive zone turned into a pass to a wide open Jarret Stoll. Stoll took the opportunity to score a big goal, giving the Kings a 3-2 lead with less than two minutes left.
Wait, sorry. Oh, gee, how did that get there? Here we go:
The Kings survived the final seconds and ended their short road trip on a high note. The win pushed them back to second in the division, leapfrogging over the Canucks in the standings. What could have been a disappointment turned into a late celebration.
Hello, 2015. Not bad.