Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Canucks trump Kings 6-4 in Game 4

In what could be a contender for game of the year, the Vancouver Canucks won an exciting contest 6-4 in Los Angeles on Wednesday evening.

Trailing 3-2 heading into the third period, the Canucks rallied in a see-saw affair and managed to pot four goals in the deciding frame to knot the series at two games apiece.

The first period saw the Canucks come out fairly flat. They appeared nervous and tentative and the Kings took advantage - once again on the powerplay - resulting in a 1-0 LA lead after one.

The back and forth battle really took off in the second period. After Christian Ehrhoff tied the game at one, the Kings responded two minutes later when Dustin Brown scored the LA Kings sixth consecutive goal on a sixth consecutive powerplay.

Midway through the second period, the Canucks finally killed a penalty and that seemed to turn the momentum. Moments after that kill, Pavol Demitra was sprung on a two-on-one and converted to tie the game at two. Anze Kopitar tipped home a goal on a delayed penalty moments later however and once again the Canucks were behind.

As the third period started, tempers were beginning to flare and goals were coming fast and furious. Mikael Sameulsson tied the game 3-3 on a tip from Daniel Sedin's slap pass and Sami Salo gave the Canucks a 4-3 lead near the midway point of the period. The Kings tied it up on a nice play, and then with just over two minutes to go, Henrik Sedin potted his first goal of the series to put the Canucks up for good.

Vancouver really took over the game in the third period after a furious start by Los Angeles. The Canucks seemed to gain confidence and momentum as the game went on.

Many Canucks played with inspired efforts tonight. Christian Ehrhoff, Kyle Wellwood, Steve Bernier, Pavol Demitra, Mikael Samuelsson, Roberto Luongo and the Sedin twins all had strong games (although the twins started slowly).

Roberto Luongo's breakaway save on Alexander Frolov may be the turning point in the series, as a Frolov goal would have made it 4-2 Los Angeles and likely crushed the Canucks' hopes.

On the other side of the coin, Kevin Bieksa's miscommunication with Luongo (shooting the puck out of his glove in an attempt to clear the zone) led to the first goal, and he was in no man's land on Los Angeles' third and fourth goals of the evening. Alexandre Burrows slipped down at the depth chart as Alain Vigneault juggled his lines. Burrows has been relatively invisible the past couple of games after failing on numerous chances despite strong efforts in the first two games.

Game 5 goes Friday night in Vancouver.

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