NHL

Kopitar scores in OT as Kings even series with Canucks

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The Canadian Press
4/18/2010 2:36:18 AM
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VANCOUVER -- The Los Angeles Kings weren't ready to roll over.

The Kings erased a 2-0 deficit, then used Anze Kopitar's power-play goal in overtime to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 Saturday night to even their NHL first-round playoff series.

On the winning goal, Kopitar fired a shot that Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo stopped. Kopitar picked up his own rebound and shot again. Luongo made the save but then knocked the puck into his own net with his stick.

Kopitar, who also had an assist on the night, said the Kings didn't panic when they fell behind early.

"We were down quite a bit during the season and we rallied back a couple of times," he said. "We kind of have the feeling we can do it and the confidence we can do it."

The Kings were given the power play after the Canucks were caught with too many men on the ice during a line change. Defenceman Kevin Bieksa was hit by the puck as he scrambled to get off the ice.

The call left Canuck coach Alain Vigneault fuming.

"It was the wrong call," said Vigneault. "You are allowed five feet and the rule is the player coming on the ice cannot play the puck.

"Yeah, that puck touched one of our players. It touched (him) trying to get off the ice because he was cut."

Vigneault said it was the linesman who made the call.

"We've got two referees that have red stripes on their sweaters .They should make the call if they think it's a penalty and not the linesman," he said. "It's unfortunate, but that's the way it is."

The Canucks looked to have the game locked up after the first period but the Kings erased a 2-0 deficit with goals 35 seconds apart in the second.

Mikael Samuelsson, with his third of the playoffs, and Steve Bernier, on a power play, scored for Vancouver. Ryan Kesler, who was quiet in the opening game of the series, had two assists.

Fredrik Modin, on the power play, and Wayne Simmonds, on a three-on-one breakaway, scored for the Kings.

The Canucks won the opening game 3-2 in overtime Wednesday. The best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final series now returns to Los Angeles for games Monday and Wednesday.

Vancouver had two chances to win the game in the third period. Bieksa launched a rocket from the blue-line that L.A. goaltender Jonathan Quick managed to get his left foot on.

Later, Henrik and Daniel Sedin were bearing down on Quick. Daniel tried to slide a pass to his brother but some quick stickwork by defenceman Drew Doughty broke up the play.

The Kings looked on the brink until Modin's goal got them back in the match.

Defenceman Jack Johnson was the workhorse on the play. He broke in on net and fired a shot that Luongo stopped.

Johnson got the rebound and flipped it back in front of the net, where Modin knocked it past Luongo.

The Kings tied the game on a play which started when Canuck defenceman Sami Salo fell at the L.A. blue-line. Three Kings started up the ice with Alexander Elder the lone defenceman back.

Kopitar carried the puck, then fed Simmonds who beat Luongo with a low shot. It was the Kings' first even-strength goal of the series.

The Canucks had just four shots on net in the first period but led 2-0 on goals 2:16 apart.

Bernier opened the scoring at 7:33 with Ryan Smith in the penalty box for interference. Kesler let go a shot that Quick appeared to get a piece of. The puck bounced around in the crease until Bernier finally managed to shovel it into the net.

The goal snapped a long scoring drought for Bernier. He had surgery for a sport hernia on March 11 and scored just one goal in 23 games after Christmas.

Quick looked soft on Samuelsson's goal. The big Swede, who scored the winner in overtime Wednesday, let got an innocent-looking wristshot from about 40 feet out that skipped by Quick's right toe.

Some in the sellout crowd of 18,810 amused themselves by taunting the L.A. goalie with chants of "not so Quick."

In an attempt to shake up his lineup Kings' coach Terry Murray benched first-line winger Justin Williams along with defenceman Randy Jones and forward Raitis Ivanas. They were replaced by forwards Scott Parse and Rich Clune plus defenceman and Peter Harrold.

Notes: Defenceman Andrew Alberts was back in Vancouver's lineup despite taking a boarding major and game misconduct in Game 1. He was called for two penalties in the first period and another in the third. . . Forward Michael Grabner was inserted for his first NHL playoff game, meaning Matt Pettinger watched from the press box. . . Defenceman Christian Ehroff had 30:35 of ice time in Game 1.

Kings celebrate (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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