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Top-seeded Canucks aim to even series in Game 2 vs. Kings

The Sports Network with TSN.ca files

4/13/2012 5:20:48 PM

(Sports Network) - The Vancouver Canucks will try to rebound from a Game 1 loss on home ice, as they continue the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinals by hosting the Los Angeles Kings tonight at Rogers Arena.

The eighth-seeded Kings grabbed the early series lead with Wednesday's 4-2 win over the top-seeded Canucks, who enter this postseason as the defending Western Conference champions. Vancouver lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals on home ice last year against the Boston Bruins.

Los Angeles won the opener thanks in part to Dustin Penner's game-winning goal with 3:14 remaining in the third period. That tally made it 3-2 game and Dustin Brown sealed the win with an empty-net goal.

Mike Richards registered a goal and two assists for the Kings, who are meeting Vancouver in the first round for the second time in three years. LA lost in six games to the Canucks in the 2009 conference quarterfinals.

Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick made half of his 24 saves over the final 20 minutes in Wednesday's win.

On the winning goal, the Kings capitalized on a giveaway by Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler in the Vancouver zone. Richards knocked down Edler's clearing attempt inside the blueline and dished to Jeff Carter. The puck deflected off Carter's left skate and Penner slammed home the indirect feed.

"It was a fortunate bounce. I was in the position in the middle of the ice to pick up that pass," Penner said.

Edler and Alexandre Burrows posted the goals for Vancouver, which allowed Los Angeles to score twice on eight power-play chances. The Canucks were 0-for-5 with the man advantage.

"I thought we didn't play our best, spent a lot of time in the penalty box," Burrows said.

Roberto Luongo stopped 35 shots for the Canucks, winners of the last two Presidents' Trophies as the league's top team in the regular season.

Vancouver played Game 1 without key forward Daniel Sedin, who missed the final nine games of the regular season with a concussion after taking an elbow from Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith on March 21. Sedin, who was Vancouver's leading goal-scorer this season with 30 tallies, did some light skating by himself Friday morning prior to the team's practice. There was no word on his status for tonight's game and Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault said he didn't know if Daniel was making the trip to Los Angels on Saturday.

Canucks defenceman Keith Ballard, who has been out seven weeks with concussion symptoms, has been cleared to play and will likely draw back into the lineup this evening. Also, centre Andrew Ebbett will replace Byron Bitz this evening, as the winger serves the first of his two-game ban for a hit to the head on Kings winger Kyle Clifford in Game 1.

The Kings are looking for their first playoff series victory in 11 years, having lost four straight playoff rounds since defeating Detroit in the 2001 conference quarterfinals.

Vancouver, meanwhile, had won its last eight series-opening games, and the last 10 at home before Wednesday's setback.

Los Angeles and Vancouver have met four times in the postseason, with the Canucks winning the previous encounter in the 2010 conference quarterfinals. The Kings had won the previous two series (1991 and 1993) after the Canucks began this matchup's history with a five-game victory in a 1982 meeting.

The Kings, who were 18-13-10 as the road team this year, will host Games 3 and 4 of this series on Sunday and Wednesday, respectively.

Vancouver was 27-10-4 as the host this season.