Forget “King Henrik”. We’ve got “King Richards”! And boy oh boy does he deserve it. Richards played his best game as a King Wednesday against Vancouver and the Kings came away with a much deserved win. Vancouver was all over the place, diving and whining and pretty much being the same old Vancouver Canucks they have always been. It does work for them somehow because they made it to the cup finals last year and won the President’s trophy this year. But you know what? They didn’t win. They didn’t win because you can dive or whine all you want, but the winner will be the best players on the ice. Not the most theatrical.
Vancouver was embarrassed after the Wednesday game. Diving aside, they were dominated most of the game by the Kings. The game tonight will be a different more disciplined game, I believe. Alain Vigneault, the Canucks head coach even stated they need changes: “We need to have an answer for (Anze) Kopitar’s line,” began Vigneault. “We need to have an answer for (Dustin) Penner, who was a powerful force down in our end. And we need to have an answer for Richards, who played one of the best games I’ve seen him play since he’s been in L.A. Not just offensively, but physically also. “We’re going to have to come up with some answers.” How nice is it to have the coach of the opposite team worry about ALL FOUR of your lines!
A few changes from last game should be noted:
- Byron Bitz was suspended 2 games for the head shot on Kyle Clifford and Clifford will be out for game 2 with a concussion. Hopefully it is not too bad and he will be back for Sunday.
- Sutter said that Brad Richardson could start activity in four to five days. Activity means, depending on how he feels and where we’re at.
- The Kings continue to average more than three goals a game since acquiring Jeff Carter before the trade deadline.
- Loktionov will play tonight in place of Clifford.
The Canucks will try to rebound after their penalty filled loss. Vancouver had eight penalty kills and you can bet that will not continue tonight. They know we come out physical so they try too hard and end up in the box. This of course works to our advantage, but they didn’t get to the top by being a stupid team. They will adjust accordingly.
Roberto Luongo kept them in the game Wednesday. Without him the score would have been a lot more uneven to our advantage. So what can the Kings do tonight? Just the same. I mean it, they were wonderful. The kept their poise, they didn’t take unnecessary penalties and pretty much let Vancouver melt down on their own. Each line played a great game. The key to win tonight’s game is to stay in their zone and get pucks to the net. Create traffic in front of the net and get Luongo off his game. He’s the one keeping them in so he’s the one that we target. We keep our heads on straight and do not get overly confident or let them get us too upset and this game is ours.
# 23 Brown– # 11 Kopitar – # 14 Williams
# 74 King– # 10 Richards – # 77 Jeff Carter
# 25 Penner – # 28 Stoll – # 22 Lewis
# 48 Loktionov– # 24 Fraser – # 71 Nolan
# 7 Scuderi – # 8 Doughty
# 33 Mitchell – # 26 Voynov
# 27 Martinez –# 22 Greene
# 32 Quick
# 45 Bernier
#21 Mason Raymond – #33 Henrik Sedin – #14 Alexandre Burrows
#40 Maxim Lapierre – #17 Ryan Kesler – #7 David Booth
#20 Chris Higgins – #26 Samuel Pahlsson – #36 Jannik Hansen
#27 Manny Malhotra – #25 Andrew Ebbett – #32 Dale Weise
#2 Dan Hamhuis – #3 Kevin Bieksa
#23 Alexander Edler – #6 Sami Salo
#29 Aaron Rome – #8 Christopher Tanev
#1 Roberto Luongo
#35 Cory Schneider