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Los Angeles Kings Upset Top-seeded Vancouver Canucks 4-2 in Game 1: Fan’s Reaction
On Wednesday, April 11, the Los Angeles Kings beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 to take home-ice advantage in the Western Conference quarterfinals series. Mike Richards had three points to lead the Kings.
I missed the end of the game. I hate to admit it, but I did. When Alexander Edler scored the game-tying goal for the Canucks with eight seconds left in the second period, I thought back to the Kings' losses to the San Jose Sharks last week, and I went to bed. Truthfully, I couldn't bring myself to watch another collapse just days after the team threw away the third-seed. I couldn't do it.
I'm sure you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that the Kings had pulled out a late victory over the Canucks. Vancouver is only one year removed from a Stanley Cup Finals appearance. The team finished with the best mark in the Western Conference with a 51-22-9 record. The Kings shouldn't be able to defeat the Canucks in Vancouver, even with Daniel Sedin out of the lineup.
However, in my own frustration over Edler's late second period goal, I ignored one simple truth: the Kings were outplaying the Canucks. They outshot Vancouver in the first two periods 29-14, while shutting down the Canucks' power play. The Kings matched Vancouver hit-for-hit and refused to back down, even though they were huge underdogs. I should have seen this, but I was too blinded by past disappointments.
The most important aspect of this game was Mike Richards' performance. He was brought in to help spearhead the offense, but he has often disappeared on the ice this season. That's not what happened in Vancouver. Richards came ready to play and led the Kings to the victory.
I think the team proved that it isn't going to lay down for the mighty Canucks. I'm not going to bed early on the Kings again. That's one thing I can guarantee my fellow Kings fans.
Derek Ciapala has been a Kings fan since the late 1980s. His favorite Kings moment is when they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games to qualify for the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals. You can follow him on Twitter @dciapala.
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