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Kings' OT goal eliminates Vancouver from playoffs

The SportsXchange

VANCOUVER -- A struggling King helped conquer the NHL's presidents.

Jarret Stoll, who had one goal in his past 39 games, scored the game-winner in overtime on Sunday as the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings pulled off a stunning victory over the President's Trophy winners, defeating the Vancouver Canucks 2-1 in Game 5 to clinch the best-of-seven series 4-1.

"I was shooting all the way," said a beaming Stoll, who scored 4:27 into the extra session. "I saw a little room up top and put it where I wanted to. They're a great team, but we found a way to win."

The goal wasn't without controversy. Stoll took advantage of a Dan Hamhuis turnover, but the disappointed crowd felt that Hamhuis was hauled down by Trevor Lewis. Stoll scored on the ensuing 2-on-1 by firing a rocket shot short side just under the crossbar. It prompted fans to chant, "Ref, you suck."

The Canucks didn't use the non-call as a crutch.

"He [Lewis] made a good play and there was no call, so it was a legal play," said Hamhuis. "He was coming back and was able to poke the puck off my stick."

Jonathan Quick was terrific in goal for the Kings, and Brad Richardson, who missed the first three games of the series after an emergency appendectomy, sent the game into overtime with his third-period tally.

It's the first time in 11 years the Kings have advanced to the second round.

"To close out this series, for me personally, and a few guys in the room, it's something we've never done, so it's a great feeling," said Quick, who made 26 saves. "We always said in the locker room we might not win the President's Trophy, but we'll be battle-tested come playoff time. These are the games we've been doing all year so we're used to playing in it."

The Canucks had high hopes after coming within a game of winning the Stanley Cup last season and finishing atop the NHL standings the past two seasons.

But they had a hard time scoring down the stretch, and that continued against the defense-oriented Kings as Vancouver managed just eight goals in the series.

"Nobody envisioned this," said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. "We're all disappointed with how things turned out. They played a great series. [They were] a real tough opponent that played real strong hockey, made the strong plays on the ice and at the end of the day, they deserved to win."

Henrik Sedin had the lone goal for Vancouver, and Cory Schneider, making his third straight start in goal in place of Roberto Luongo, made 35 saves.

Schneider allowed four goals in the three-plus games he played, but was outplayed by Quick.

"We had really high hopes going into these playoffs," said a choked-up Schneider. "We let ourselves down, we let the fans down, we let a lot of people down here. It's not easy to swallow."

The Kings trailed 1-0 through 40 minutes but, sensing they could send the NHL's best team packing, came out with a frantic third period and continued that pace in overtime.

The Canucks' best period during the regular season was the third period, but not in this series.

Los Angeles won Games 1 and 3 after the teams were tied through 40 minutes, and on Sunday the Kings overcame a 1-0 deficit heading into the third.

After an unsuccessful power play early in the third, the Kings took advantage of a center-ice turnover to tie the game.

Drew Doughty snapped up an errant pass, outwaited Schneider and fed Richardson, who outbattled Henrik Sedin and Alex Edler in front to snap the puck in for his first goal of the series.

"I think tonight was our team in a nutshell," said Kings captain Dustin Brown, who had a series-high four goals. "We just battled back."

Prior to the third period Quick was L.A.'s best player.

With time waning in the second frame, the confident Kings netminder held his ground against Jannik Hansen on a 2-on-1, and then stopped sniper Daniel Sedin with a right pad save on a clear-cut breakaway.

The lone goal to beat Quick came in the first period, with Vancouver enjoying a power play.

Canucks defenseman Hamhuis blocked a Matt Greene clearing attempt, then Henrik and Daniel Sedin worked a pretty give-and-go with Henrik finishing the play into an empty net after Daniel's pass fooled Mitchell and Quick.

NOTES: Canucks F Dale Weise dressed in place of Zack Kassian on the fourth line and was effective with Manny Malhotra and Mason Raymond. ... Canucks forward Ryan Kesler did not score a goal in his final 17 games. ... Kings forwards Anze Kopitar (one goal, three assists) and Justin Williams (four assists) had their four-game points streaks snapped.
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