Another 2-0 lead, another shootout loss. It's a theme that is becoming all too familiar with the Vancouver Canucks, as they fell 3-2 to the Los Angeles Kings in a shootout at the Staples Center Monday night.
With 6:52 left in the first period, Zack Kassian knocked in a rebound goal to give the Canucks a 1-0 lead. The way you beat Quick, one of the most dominant goalies in the NHL, is by being aggressive and getting bodies around the net to chip in a goal off his pads or a skate. Kassian never gave up on the play, and was rewarded for his efforts with his team-leading fourth goal of the season.
The Canucks had a late chance on the power play with two minutes left, but were unable to convert. While they were able to keep the puck in the offensive zone for the most part, they were never able to get it much further than along the edge of the blue line. When they did get shots off, they were mostly forced wrist shots just to get something on net.
The Kings had two power play opportunities of their own, but impressive saves from Roberto Luongo denied Los Angeles any goals.
Just over four minutes into the second period, Alex Burrows tipped in a wraparound goal to give the Canucks a 2-0 lead. As Burrows went behind the net, Quick initially knew where the puck was, but as Quick got confused and looked one way, Burrows took it the other. Quick looked away just long enough for Burrows to capitalize on Quick's mental error.
After 25 failed attempts to begin the season, the Kings finally netted their first power play goal of the year. After Simon Gagne was able to get his stick on the puck, Jeff Carter took advantage of the deflection to slip one by Luongo just seven seconds into the power play. Sometimes, the broken plays turn your way, which is what happened here between Gagne and Carter.
The Canucks very well might have been saved by the bell at the end of the second, as it looked like the Kings might continue to ride the momentum to tie it up heading into the final intermission.
The Canucks were handed a gift early in the third as Dustin Brown was driven into Luongo. The referee believed that Brown was responsible for the contact, and the Canucks found themselves on the power play. The Kings dodged a bullet when Zack Kassian found himself with the puck, and a wide open net. Thanks to the diving efforts of Rob Scuderi using his stick to break up the play, Kassian was denied his second goal of the night.
In another controversial call, Simon Gagne was called for boarding as he appeared to be sandwiched between Dan Hamuis and Alex Edler on an icing play.
On the power play, it was another near goal for Zack Kassian off a perfectly set up pass from Daniel Sedin. However, Quick was, well, quick, sliding over just in time to stop Kassian's shot. The Canucks were unable to convert on their third power play opportunity of the night.
Just seconds after Gagne was let out of the box, Hamuis was called for interference, much to the satisfaction of Kings fans who were starting to get unruly with some questionable officiating. The Kings struggled to set anything up though, getting off just one shot during the power play.
With a minute to go, Quick went off to the bench for the Kings to get an extra attacker. Justin Williams was able to get a shot on net that deflected in to tie the game with just 44 seconds left to send the game into overtime. With all the pressure the Kings were putting on Vancouver as the game progressed, it seemed only a matter of time before the Canucks would surrender yet another 2-0 lead. Vancouver was only able to get off three shots in the final 20 minutes.
The Kings controlled the pace in the five minute overtime period, but neither team could net a game winner, and for the third time in a game where the Canucks were leading 2-0, it would be decided in a shootout.
In the shootout, Jeff Carter proved to be the hero, netting the lone goal of the shootout.
The Canucks seemed to start strong, but as time went on throughout the game, the Kings gained more and more momentum. In the end, the Canucks simply couldn't hold on after desperately trying to hang on during the final period.
It's becoming clear early on that maintaing leads could prove to be a major headache for the Canucks this season. In such a short season, all these missed extra points could cost Vancouver playoff seeds when April rolls around.
The Canucks finish their three game California road trip with a 1-1-1 record. Vancouver now travels back home for two games against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday, and the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.