Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 4/12/12

SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 16: Dustin Penner #27 of the Edmonton Oilers stands on the ice during their game against the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion on January 16, 2010 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Without having been on Southern California soil for eight hours after a 10-day roadtrip, Dustin Penner arose early on the morning of Feburary 13, a scheduled off day, to take part in a blogger-sponsored charity event at a local IHOP. A healthy scratch the two games in two nights prior, he was freshly removed from the American Airlines Arena roadtrip finale in which a pair of rookie wingers seven years his junior had scored while he had watched from the pressbox. Dubbed "Pancakes with Penner", the event toyed with the lumbering winger's January admission that he had suffered a lower back injury when he had sat down to try his wife's "delicious pancakes." It raised money in self-referential jest, allowing the Kings fans that attended a moment of laughing together with the player that was often the focus of their frustration. He was a good sport throughout the pancake coverage and the charity event, but he had also only produced seven goals in 62 games at the time. Despite the lack of production and derision he faced, it seemed following the event that tolerance of such a frustrating player and former Cup winner had grown to a level of acceptance, even when he went scoreless in the month that followed. Fans had moved on, attention had shifted elsewhere. His limitation had become accepted as any goals and scoresheet contributions were seen as added value. It was a Post-Penner society. Nothing new of note had happened since then, at least not through the first 9:51 of Game 1 of Los Angeles' first round matchup with Vancouver. Trailing 1-0 and driving into the offensive zone on a forecheck, Penner's stick got caught in between the legs of a Canucks skater, forcing the Kings into an important penalty kill in an effort to stem the home team's momentum. The kill was successful, and following the early gaffe Penner provided a vintage glimpse into the player that was so effective around the net with the Anaheim Ducks in their 2007 run to the Stanley Cup. He hit the Canucks' defensemen behind their own net, he backchecked and got his stick on a puck to disrupt an ominous Chris Tanev scoring chance off an activation from the blueline. He also scored the game-winning goal with 3:14 remaining after Mike Richards patiently carried the puck across the run of play before offering a diagonal cross-zone pass to Jeff Carter. The redirection off his skate was buried by Penner for his second career playoff goal with L.A. "I was trying to direct it to that area, back-post somewhere," Carter told LA Kings Insider. I knew Pens was driving there, so it worked out pretty good. The stick wasn't working too well tonight, so it's a good thing the skate was." "I was more surprised it went in the net," Penner said. It is said that there are certain teams that benefit from a reset to a 0-0 record when the playoffs begin, but there are also those who benefit from a reset to zero points. Penner now has as many points that matter as Henrik Sedin, and should this series bend firmly in the Kings favor, any cushy images of Penner serving pancakes at an IHOP will be replaced by the gap-toothed grin he flashed after his game-winning goal on Wednesday. "The coaching staff, they've been on us for the last two months, and rightfully so," Penner said to LA Kings insider. "They've been mad at us, because there's a lot of potential in this group. We're not surprised that we came out and got this one, but we also expect them to play a great Game 2 and we have to be prepared for that. Luongo played great for them." One thing the Kings weren't prepared for was Vancouver's generosity. Allowing the Kings a power play tune-up with two five-on-three situations in the first period and a five minute major power play in the second, the Canucks allowed L.A. to become an opportunistic team despite Roberto Luongo's reliably excellent performance against a team he's awfully comfortable facing. His 14-9-3 record, 2.22 goals against average and .921 save percentage against the Kings are among his best career numbers against any opponent, though with 38 shots faced and backed by only two goals of support Wednesday, his window of error was practically shut. There's certainly plenty of real estate left for Kings postseason memories, and for Penner to truly emerge as an unsung Kings playoff contributor such as Todd Elik or Warren Rychel, he's going to have to repeat the performance he gave Sunday by as many games the team plays in the playoffs. "We earned this one," Penner said. "We can't rest on our laurels now. There's a lot more hockey to be played, and we know they're going to come out even better in the next game." With the optimism Kings fans are enjoying after a Game 1 win, so will Penner.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Warren Sapp bitten on arm by shark

Fitzpatrick, Jets agree to one-year deal

Baker considering removing Papelbon from closer role?

Greg Hardy struggling to find work, reportedly even in CFL

Jets players told not to discuss Ryan Fitzpatrick situation

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Brock Lesnar won't be punished by WWE for UFC drug test

Report: Cowboys to be fined up to $250K for suspended players

Data shows NFL-backed youth program that claimed reduced concussions is bogus

Report: Odom’s family working hard to get him to go to rehab

Drug dealers adding Olympic rings to cocaine wrappers in Rio

Report: Cowboys have ‘no interest’ in Freeney, Hardy

Conor McGregor talks trash to Nate Diaz on ‘Conan’

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Real Madrid can’t train at Norwegian school because of the kids

Newspaper uses Michael Jordan ‘crying face’ as image

Equipment manager Blake Griffin punched no longer works for Clippers

Report: Nicks signing one-year deal with Saints

Reds 'picking up the pace' on Jay Bruce trade talks

Robbie Keane rescued on highway after running out of gas

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Tigers play high stakes game of Rock, Paper, Scissors

Tavares dismisses rumors, wants to stay with Islanders

UFC signs a new broadcast deal in the U.K.

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker