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The Los Angeles Kings relied behind classic Darryl Sutter strategy to secure a final victory in 2011, defeating the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 in the final game of the year from the Staples center.
The Canucks took an early game lead off the stick of Kevin Bieksa, but couldn’t formulate a response to the relentless Kings’ attack throughout the final two periods.
The Hat Trick
Calm and Quick
Jonathan Quick continues to carry the Kings under Head Coach Darryl Sutter. Since the former Flames’ boss got behind the bench in Los Angeles the Kings have earned a 4-0-2 record and remain undefeated in regulation under their new Head Coach.
Quick stopped 27 of 28 shots fired from the Canucks on Saturday, posting a .964 SV% in his fifth start under the new Head Coach.
Roberto Luongo made a handful of impressive saves from the Canucks’ crease, but once again couldn’t retain the victory behind a corps of skaters looking forward to the approaching holiday.
The goaltender often made the first save on Saturday, but couldn’t find help in his teammates who were often a step behind the hungry Kings, chipping in rebounds and roughing up players in and around Luongo’s crease.
Brad Richardson’s first goal of the game for the Kings was a perfect example of the home team’s hustle as Richardson fought for second and third chances on a rebound while Cody Hodgson defended helplessly.
Kings by Committee
The Kings did a great job of crashing the Canucks’ crease by committee on Saturday, scoring four goals with four different skaters and causing havoc around Roberto Luongo all night.
After Kevin Bieksa snuck off the bench for Vancouver’s opening goal of the game, the Kings stormed Luongo’s end of the rink launching 15 shots in a busy first period.
While the shot totals declined in the second and third periods, the Kings consistently kept Vancouver at bay, sending them home with a loss to ring in the New Year.
Saturday’s game against the Kings was eerily familiar to Vancouver’s December 23rd loss to the Calgary Flames. The Canucks got out to a lively start, but couldn’t keep their focus against the Kings and their newfound respect for defensively responsible hockey.
If Los Angeles ever learns to score goals again, the NHL could have another Stanley Cup contender on their hands.
Quote Of The Night
Kevin Bieksa – “We gave them lots of chances,” he said. “We gave them lots of power plays. We were a little loose, at times, in our zone. It wasn’t so much them. I think it was a little bit more us.”
1st – Matt Greene – GOALS: 1| PTS: 1| ASST: 0 SOG: 1| PLUS/MINUS: 1
2nd – Anze Kopitar – GOALS: 1| PTS: 1| ASST: 0 SOG: 1| PLUS/MINUS: 1
3rd – Jonathan Quick – SAVE PCTG: 0.964
BOXSCORE | Q’s POST GAME RECAP
Los Angeles 4, Vancouver 1
When: 10:00 PM ET, Saturday, December 31, 2011
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Referees: Kelly Sutherland, Brian Pochmara
Linesmen: Vaughan Rody, Mike Cvik