Canucks 3, Kings 1

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 19, 2012
Cory Schneider made 43 saves and stopped Dustin Brown's penalty shot in his first career playoff victory, Daniel Sedin sparked Vancouver's power play in his return from injury, and the top-seeded Canucks avoided an embarrassing first-round sweep with a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 on Wednesday night. Kevin Bieksa scored the go-ahead goal, and Alex Edler and captain Henrik Sedin scored the first two power-play goals of the series for the Canucks, who emphatically avoided becoming the first Presidents' Trophy-winning team in the post-expansion era to get swept out of the first round. Anze Kopitar scored a first-period goal, and Jonathan Quick stopped 27 shots for the eighth-seeded Kings, who couldn't capitalize on their first chance to close out their first playoff series victory since 2001. Brown had a chance to tie it with 14:37 to play, but Schneider wasn't fooled by the Los Angeles captain's multiple moves. Game 5 is Sunday in Vancouver. With their backs against the Staples Center glass, the Canucks got a boost from leading goal-scorer Daniel Sedin, who returned from a 12-game absence because of a concussion and contributed an assist to a power play that went 0 for 14 in the first three games. The defending Western Conference champions coolly overcame a second-period deficit with three straight goals to back Schneider, who outplayed Quick, Los Angeles' All-Star goalie. Schneider made his second straight start for the Canucks in place of Roberto Luongo, who lost twice in Vancouver. Schneider had no trouble stopping the penalty shot from Brown, who had four goals in the first three games. Sedin then scored his second goal in 27 games just 22 seconds later. Los Angeles has lost six of its last seven home playoff games dating to 2010. Despite winning 1-0 in Game 3, the Kings managed just two goals in their two home games against Vancouver with a power play that went 0 for 11. The Kings still must overcome their unimpressive history after taking the first 3-0 playoff series lead in franchise history. Los Angeles has won just one playoff series since Wayne Gretzky skated in the Forum in 1993. The Kings came out with obvious energy from their sellout crowd, and Kopitar needed just 13 minutes to put them ahead. He broke free in Vancouver's zone when Mason Raymond badly missed a check, and Kopitar's wrist shot beat Schneider's glove for the first goal of the postseason for Los Angeles' leading scorer. Vancouver evened it in the second period when the Kings' Colin Fraser took a needless penalty in the offensive zone. Edler's long shot from the point slipped through Quick, who stopped 111 of 115 shots in the first three games. Bieksa put the Canucks ahead 4 1/2 minutes later with a long shot from the point after Los Angeles' Mike Richards turned over the puck. Richards deflected Bieksa's shot with his stick, and it pinballed past Quick for Bieksa's first goal of the postseason. Vancouver hadn't led in the series since the first period of Game 1. After Schneider stonewalled Brown, Henrik Sedin snapped a personal 24-game goal drought with a rebound score. Daniel Sedin hadn't played since March 21, when a vicious hit from Chicago's Duncan Keith left him with a concussion. Sedin had ferocious headaches for 2 1/2 weeks afterward, but said he's been feeling normal for the past week, returning to the ice by himself before flying down to Los Angeles to join his teammates in practice Tuesday. Sedin was a Hart Trophy finalist last season before getting 30 goals and 37 assists this season. Vancouver finished the regular season strong with eight wins in nine games after his injury, but managed just four goals in the first three games against the Kings. NOTES: Kings C Brad Richardson returned to the lineup after missing the first three games following an appendectomy. Richardson's mother, a veteran nurse, diagnosed his condition. ... Brown's penalty shot was the second in Kings playoff history, the first since Steve Duchesne scored against Vancouver in 1991. .. Staples Center showed a short film on the scoreboard in which the ''South Park'' characters team up to drive a Zamboni over two of Vancouver's infamous Green Men. ''South Park'' character Cartman frequently appears in motivational videos made for the Kings' fans. ... The Kings thought they scored a tying goal during a goal-mouth scramble in the second period, but referee Dan O'Halloran waved it off.
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