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Canucks are powerless to stop Kings' shorthanded goals

The SportsXchange

VANCOUVER -- Dustin Brown made franchise history but, more important, led the Los Angeles Kings to another shocking victory over the NHL's best team.

Brown became the first King to score two shorthanded goals in a playoff game and Jonathan Quick made 46 saves as eighth-seeded Los Angeles defeated the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks 4-2 Friday night to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven first-round series.

"They're huge goals," Brown said. "Special teams is a big part of playoff hockey, and it's not that often you are going to see two shorthanded goals like that."

Brown cautioned about getting too excited about the surprising position his team finds itself in.

"(Vancouver) has dominated the regular season and majority of the playoffs last year, so I'm sure they've faced tougher situations than being down 2-0 in a series," he said.

Jarret Stoll and Trevor Lewis also scored for Los Angeles, which will be home for Game 3 on Sunday. Jannik Hansen and Samuel Pahlsson replied for Vancouver.

The Kings employed a hard-hitting, smothering attack -- particularly on the penalty kill -- that left a befuddled Vancouver group with more questions than answers.

Los Angeles was 5-for-5 on the penalty kill for the second straight game, scored twice shorthanded and added a key third-period power-play goal with the Canucks pressing for the equalizer.

"Our penalty killing has been a strong point of this team all year," said Brown. "It was important for our top guys to lead by example. You need big performances at this time of year."

In goal, Quick continued his red-hot play, challenging shooters, allowing few rebounds and making several acrobatic saves.

"We need Quick to be really good," said Kings coach Darryl Sutter. "He made big saves again tonight. He has to be our best player, and he was tonight."

Brown was just as good.

After Vancouver gained momentum with an early second-period goal to tie the game 1-1 -- Hansen neatly deflected a Henrik Sedin shot -- the Kings captain snatched it back with his second shorthanded goal of the game.

Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis missed a pass from Ryan Kesler at the Kings blue line, allowing Brown to streak past him and beat Roberto Luongo with a pretty backhand to the blocker side at 5:17.

The Canucks were clearly deflated by the goal and now find themselves two losses away from an early playoff exit despite being one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup.

"We didn't think it was going to be easy," said Sedin. "We didn't think we were going to be down 2-0, but they've got a good team over there. The power play lost the game for us, and that can't happen."

Stoll scored the eventual game-winner midway through the third period, banging a loose puck between Luongo's legs, and Lewis increased the advantage to 4-1 on a wraparound with 5:09 remaining,

Both were goals that Luongo would want back.

"Special teams were the difference tonight," said Luongo, who finished with 25 saves and might be replaced by backup Cory Schneider in Game 3. "That being said, I've got to try to make a big save there when the game was on the line."

But Luongo hasn't been the issue for the Canucks. That distinction is special teams; the Canucks have outscored the Kings in the series 4-3 at five-on-five but are 0-10 on the power play and have allowed three goals on Los Angeles' 12 chances. Vancouver's poor performance with the man advantage on Friday left a frustrated crowd booing on several occasions.

"I thought five-on-five we played a real strong game," said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. "I thought our power play had the opportunity to again make a difference, and it didn't. Tonight it was more than ineffective, it really cost us at bad times."

The Kings led 1-0 after the first period on Brown's first shorthanded goal, which came with only nine seconds remaining. Canucks defenseman Alex Edler tried a drop pass to David Booth, but Anze Kopitar stole the puck and drove the net, and Brown followed up by banging the rebound past a prone Luongo.

"That was just Kopi being a world-class player," Brown said of the goal.

Pahlsson added a late third-period goal for Vancouver, but it was a moot point.

Canucks sniper Daniel Sedin (concussion) did not play and appears doubtful for Game 3 as well. He has not been practicing with the team.

NOTES: It's the first time in franchise history the Canucks have lost the first two games of a series while on home ice. ... Canucks D Keith Ballard (concussion) took Aaron Rome's spot on defense. Ballard has been out since Feb. 7. ... Up front for Vancouver, Andrew Ebbett took Byron Bitz's spot on the fourth line. Bitz was suspended two games for his hit on Kings forward Kyle Clifford in Game 1. ... Andrie Loktionov played his first career playoff game in place of Clifford (upper body). ... The Canucks did not trail a series in last year's playoffs until the end of Game 7 in the final.

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