Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond proved a formidable, speedy duo with both recording a goal and an assist against the surging Los Angeles Kings.
The Los Angeles Kings touched down at YVR looking to accomplish something they hadn’t done since 1980: Earn points in 9 straight games. Unfortunately for them, they would take off early Tuesday morning from Vancouver International failing to duplicate the feat.
The Vancouver Canucks skated to a 3-1 victory over the Western conference leading Kings Monday night. Los Angeles also missed the opportunity to move abreast of the entire NHL with a win. Vancouver outhustled and overwhelmed the Kings with a speedy forecheck and a thorough ownership of the neutral ice area.
“We didn’t come out as strong as we wanted to,” said Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. “It’s not an easy task coming into this rink and taking control in the first period but you’ve got to compete and fight off that wave of momentum they throw at you right at the beginning.”
Ryan Kesler opened the scoring just 1:04 into the game, perfectly positioned in front of the Kings net (pictured), swiping home the Mason Raymond slapper. Shane O’Brien hustled and helped orchestrate the play by pinching the clearing attempt and leaving a drop pass for Raymond. “This game’s a lot about confidence,” stated Kesler, probably referring to both him and O’Brien. “It’s a funny game that way. You have confidence and you’re working hard but it seems like it’s effortless out there but I’m getting the bounces and I’m feeling good right now.”
Kesler also made a crucial shot block during a 46 second 2-man advantage for the Kings. Luongo made the initial stop off a Drew Doughty slapshot, and a couple moments later Kesler sacrificed the body as Doughty let another blast go from the point, with traffic in front.
“It was one of our best (games) of the year,” said Luongo. “We came out with an early lead and really played well the rest of the way and never really gave them much as far as scoring chances are concerned.”
Daniel and Henrik Sedin both assisted on Sami Salo’s power play goal late in the first period, keeping their points streak alive at seven games. Mason Raymond’s speedy forecheck just added to the Kings’ frustration, as they had a difficult time moving the puck between center and the Canucks’ blue line. Raymond’s goal was his 12th, a career high in a season for him.
The Orca crew (19-14-0) is 3-0 on their current 8 game homestand, and play Anaheim (12-13-7) Wednesday. The Ducks bring a 3-5-5 road record with them into GM Place.
Check out further Canuck action at www.thecanuckway.com
Larenzo Jensen, with files from The Canadian Press/ AP Photo and Yahoo! Sports