Former Canuck Mitchell savouring Kings' series win
Willie Mitchell could not tell a lie: To beat his old club was special.
“When you’re playing against good friends and people you see all summer, sure it means something extra,” the Port McNeill native said. “I’d be lying to say it didn’t, sure.”
Mitchell even gets power-play time with the Kings, and has been rewarded for his fine defensive play with a two-year, $7-million contract extension.
The Canucks had offered a one-year, $3.5-million deal two years ago.
“It works both ways, they wanted the same thing over there as I wanted,” Mitchell said. “I think the biggest thing, though, this [the Kings’] organization hasn’t had success in awhile and we talked about that, that it’s our time to make a statement, time to take that next step.
“You have to do that against good teams. We beat a very good team over there.”
It wasn’t just the former Canuck who had praise for the Canucks. The appreciation seemed universal in the Los Angeles locker room.
Jonathan Quick, just about unbeatable in the series, won a classic showdown with Cory Schneider, the two New England goalies having risen through the ranks facing each other in big high-school, college, AHL and now NHL games.
“I told Cory he played great and he said the same to me,” said Quick of the handshake line. “We played against each other growing up at every level.
“He’s succeeded at every level and it’s going to happen here, too. He’s a great goalie. He kept them in it the other night and sure enough tonight, too.”
The Kings came out like they were trying to run the Canucks out of their home barn.
The hits were 11-1 in favour of Los Angeles before the first period was 10 minutes old.
“We wanted to see if we could draw a couple of penalties,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said and it worked, Dan Hamhuis taking a retaliatory roughing penalty against Dustin Brown at 1:23 of the first period.
But Schneider was unsolvable until Brad Richardson made it 1-1 at 3:21 of the second period.
For Richardson, is was a nice cap to a ragged journey that began with emergency appendectomy surgery on April 10, a return two games ago, a short stint on Sunday in Sutter’s doghouse when his roughing penalty on Chris Tanev in the offensive zone led to Henrik Sedin’s power-play goal, then the game-tying heroics.
“I just went to the net with my stick on the ice,” Richardson said.
Richardson and that fourth line of the Kings gave the Canucks fits for the past two games.
And, sure enough, it was Jarret Stoll ending the Canucks’ season in overtime.
“Schneider’s a great goaltender, [Roberto] Luongo’s a great goaltender and they’re a great team,” Stoll said. “They had 100 and some points in the regular season and, from top to bottom, they were built to be in the Stanley Cup final.
“But we weren’t thinking No. 8 seed against No. 1, just the L.A. Kings against the Vancouver Canucks.
“We knew they were a great team, but we feel we’re a good team, too. We just found a way to win three games in this building.”
© Copyright (c) The Province