Vancouver Canucks stay alive, Cory Schneider, Daniel Sedin shine in 3-1 win over L.A. Kings
'We had to win, I don't think we cared how we did it,' Vancouver goalie says after 43-save performance
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LOS ANGELES — Cory Schneider delivered, Daniel Sedin helped kick-start the power play and the goal-starved Vancouver Canucks got some big offence from their defence.
They live to play again.
Alex Edler and Kevin Bieksa scored second-period goals to erase a 1-0 deficit and the Canucks beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 Wednesday night at the Staples Center to force a fifth game in their best-of-seven first-round playoff series.
The Canucks still trail the series 3-1, but a win Sunday at Rogers Arena would at least make things interesting.
"We had to win, I don't think we cared how we did it," said Schneider, who stopped 43 of the 44 shots he faced. "We stuck together and our special teams came up big. We won a huge game. By no means are we right back in it, but it's a first step we had to have and now we can worry about the next one."
All the talk before the game was about Schneider, who got the start ahead of Roberto Luongo, and Daniel Sedin, who returned to play for the first time since March 21. Both made big contributions.
Schneider helped hold the Canucks in the game during a sluggish first period and stopped Kings captain Dustin Brown on a penalty shot early in the third period with the Canucks up by just one goal.
Daniel was on the ice for all three Vancouver goals and created some sublime magic with brother Henrik prior to Henrik's power-play goal at 5:45 of the third period.
"They are world-class players and everybody knows how good they are and tonight I think they were excited to play together again," Vancouver winger Alex Burrows said of the twins. "They knew it was a do-or-die for us, they wanted to take over and they did."
Daniel logged nearly 20 minutes of ice time, had three shots and a hit and wasn't even breathing heavy after the game.
"I felt pretty good actually, but the first period was tough," Daniel said. "I haven't played in a while and to get thrown into a playoff game you are a little bit hesitant out there. After that I felt fine, so it was good."
The game did not start well for Vancouver. Heading into the game, the Canucks had talked about winning the first period and going from there. It didn't go quite as planned. The Canucks were as flat as Saskatchewan in the first period and were fortunate to be down only 1-0 after 20 minutes. The Kings outshot the Canucks 13-7 in the first and the scoring chances were much more lopsided than that.
Anze Kopitar got the goal for the Kings, outmuscling Vancouver winger Mason Raymond for a loose puck — Raymond did not put up much of a fight — and then beat Schneider short side at the 13-minute mark.
Schneider had to make some big saves to keep the game close.
"They are looking to move on just as badly as we were looking to stay alive," Schneider said. "You knew in their building they were going to give everything they could to put us away now and not let us hang around.
"I was just doing as much as I could to keep us in the game and sure enough the power play came up huge and got a big goal in the third."
The Canucks played with much more emotion in the second period, although they were still outshot 18-9. Edler's power-play goal at 4:07 of the second snapped an 0-for-14 drought with the man advantage in this series. His long shot from the right point got by Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, thanks in no small part to a Ryan Kesler screen in front. Kesler also did some nice work behind the net to get the play started.
Just over four minutes later, Bieksa's shot, also from the right point, beat Quick after Kings centre Mike Richards attempted to chip the shot to the corner. Instead the puck bounced off his stick and into the net.
Los Angeles had a goal disallowed at 13:09 of the second when Brad Richardson shoved Schneider's left pad and the puck into the net.
Brown got his penalty shot at 5:23 of the third when he pounced on a Bieksa turnover at the Vancouver blue line during a Canuck power play and raced in alone on Schneider. Bieksa hauled Brown down from behind.
Brown tried to beat Schneider with a deke to his forehand on the penalty shot, but Schneider got his stick on the shot.
"He has been their most dangerous player and one of the best players in the playoffs," Schneider said. "I wasn't really sure what he likes to do, but I was able to hold off on the shot and when I opened it up I thought he might try and get upstairs, but fortunately I had my stick protecting the five hole and just got enough of it."
Twenty-two seconds after that save, Henrik converted a rebound off a Dan Hamhuis shot to put Vancouver up by two. The goal was preceded by some wonderful dispsey-doodling by the twins.
The Canucks hope they have planted a seed of doubt in the Kings' mind as the series now heads back to Vancouver for Game 5, although Daniel Sedin was not about to go there.
"It doesn't change anything, still only three teams have come back from 3-0," he said. "Now it is 3-1, but I still think we only have a five per cent chance of coming back. We were are going to enjoy every day here and come into work with a smile on our face. That's all we can do and that usually helps."
Kings coach Darryl Sutter credited the Sedins with being the difference in the game.
“Actually I thought we played better than we did last game," he said. "The difference was 22 [Daniel Sedin] and 33’s [Henrik Sedin] performance … I thought we played really well. We had a good first period. Lots of good looks. That’s how close it was.
"Obviously it was a big win for them getting guys back … It’s a fine line. We’re not a team that scores a lot and you have to score on your opportunities and we had a borderline whistle/non-goal and we missed the penalty shot. So we could be just standing here talking about a totally different thing right now. Not much difference.”
On Twitter: Twitter.com/bradziemer
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