A game that carried playoff implications for both the Kings and Vancouver Canucks and was contested with playoff-like intensity had the same outcome as the playoff series these two teams played last spring: the Canucks won.
But this time, only narrowly, despite the Canucks’ huge edge in shots.
Daniel Sedin converted the rebound of a shot by Christian Ehrhoff at 11:36 of the third period Saturday for the decisive goal as the Canucks defeated the Kings, 3-1, before a loud and well-entertained crowd at Staples Center. The Kings protested that the goal should not have counted because defenseman Drew Doughty was shoved by Sedin and into goaltender Jonathan Quick, impeding Quick’s ability to make the save. However, that’s not a reviewable play and the goal was allowed to stand.
Doughty was given a misconduct penalty at the end of the game.
Alexander Burrows scored the final goal into an empty net, merely the Kings' third regulation loss in their last 18 games.
The Canucks improved their league-leading point total to 91, though this was only their sixth win in their last 11 games.
Dustin Penner, acquired by the Kings on Monday in a deadline-day deal, scored his first goal for his new team, providing the Kings’ only goal at 5:28 of the first period.
The game was emotionally charged and hard-hitting from the opening minutes, which included the first scrum of many that would form.
The Kings scored first, at 5:28 of the first period. Penner, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound behemoth on skates, used his strength to fight off a Vancouver defender and win the puck in the left-wing corner. He then threw the puck in front and got a fortunate deflection when it glanced off Vancouver forward Maxim Lapierre and goaltender Roberto Luongo before caroming into the net.
Penner was credited with the goal, from Brad Richardson and Justin Williams.
Vancouver pulled even at 9:16, thanks in part to defensive confusion on the Kings’ part. Raffi Torres spun away from Kings defenseman Jack Johnson behind the goal line and centered the puck to the front of the net, where Jannik Hansen leaned and back-handed a shot past Quick.
A series of penalties led to the Kings' gaining a five-on-three power play for a full minute but they couldn’t do anything with it.
Vancouver tested Quick often in the second period, and with the help of his teammates he withstood the challenge. A shot by Trevor Glass trickled behind him just over 12 minutes into the period but Willie Mitchell managed to clear it out of danger. A few minutes later, Mikael Samuelsson tried a wraparound that Quick scrambled to stop, with a rebound that was picked up and taken the other way for a quick transition up ice.
That was all until Sedin’s goal, and Quick kept the Kings’ deficit to one with an outstanding glove save on a one-timer by Sedin with 2:25 left in the third period.
Check back later for more at www.latimes.com/sports
Photo: Vancouver's Jannik Hansen watches his shot get past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick for a goal in the first period Saturday. Credit: Harry How / Getty Images