Flying V’s Hat Trick: Kings Overthrow Canucks in NYE Battle

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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.

Unlucky Luongo

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.

Canucks vs. Kings

Los Angeles Kings center Trevor Lewis, right, protects the puck from Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis - (AP Photo/Bret Hartman)

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.

V’s Thoughts

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.”

3 Stars

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

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
Attendance: 18118


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About Kevin Vanstone

Born in Vancouver, and a student at UVIC. "The Flying V" follows all things Canucks hockey and covers the best in CIS athletics around the Pacific Northwest. He loves to write about the athletes that used to show him up in his playing days.
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