VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo saw a lot of his sprawling, game-saving overtime stop in the 12 hours after making it.
"About 20," Luongo said after practice Friday when asked how many times he'd seen himself swiping the puck off the goal line. "You can't get enough of it."
What most didn't see as the puck was cleared and play moved into the Los Angeles end was how Luongo's stick got wedged in his skate during his spinning save, making it hard to stand up. They didn't see the moment of panic as Luongo contemplated knocking the net off its moorings before the stick finally came free just as the Kings broke back into his zone on the rush.
It was mostly forgotten when Mikael Samuelsson scored 3 minutes later to give Vancouver a 3-2 victory in Game 1 of the first-round Western Conference series. But if you ask Luongo, the overall lack of panic — that awkward sequence aside — could set the Canucks apart from the younger Kings.
"It's our third go-around in four years and we've been in a lot of situations so I'm sure we're not as nervous maybe as on the other side where a lot of their guys are in their first playoffs," Luongo said. "I don't know if it's going to make a big difference in the big scheme of things, but we can stay composed."
It's not as if the Kings fell apart in their first playoff game since 2002.
With several key players making their postseason debuts — from captain Dustin Brown and leading scorer Anze Kopitar, to top defensemen Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson, to goalie Jonathan Quick — Los Angeles used two power-play goals to force a Canucks team that has dominated at home all season to overtime. And after coming within an inch of winning on Johnson's rebound, it's clear a mostly inexperienced Kings team may have lost the game, but gained confidence.
"Being able to stay with them into overtime is definitely a confidence booster knowing we've got a lot better," Doughty said. "I'm sure some of the guys were pretty nervous before the game."
Quick may have gained the most. He came into his first playoffs winless in eight starts. But while the Kings struggled at times 5-on-5 and spent long stretches in their own end while being outshot 17-6 in the first period and 13-2 in the third, Quick kept them in it with 41 saves.
"They came out pretty pumped and we had a little, 'Let's feel this out and see what's going to happen,' and Jonathan Quick played great," veteran Sean O'Donnell said. "Some people in the media questioned whether he was ready for the challenge and he more than answered that and let us get our feet under us."
O'Donnell, one of four Kings with a Stanley Cup ring, isn't worried about his younger teammates finding another level for Game 2 on Saturday night in Vancouver.
"Most of them are out kicking around the soccer ball, laughing," he said after only a few practiced Friday. "They understand how important it is but they weren't up last night reading the paper, stressing about it, watching highlight shows and wondering 'What are we going to do for Game 2?' They learned from Game 1 how the intensity picks up and they re ready to apply it."
The Canucks got calmness amid that intensity from top players such as Samuelsson, who scored twice after being signed as a free agent last summer largely for his postseason experience in Detroit.
Vancouver also got a strong game from its top line, with NHL scoring leader Henrik Sedin following up his 112-point regular season with two assists, including the pass on Samuelsson's winner. Henrik also set up identical twin brother Daniel, who scored and added an assist, but both of the Sedins were more impressed with how well their team defended against the talented Kings.
After struggling down the stretch — their goals-against average was 3.35 and Luongo's save percentage. 892 after the Olympics — the Canucks tightened up in Game 1. They also stayed patient against the tight-checking Kings, not trying to force things through the neutral zone, and not committing the bad turnovers that led to odd-man rushes and an 8-3 loss in Los Angeles on April 1.
"It was a huge difference and it showed the strength of this team that we were able to refocus," Henrik Sedin said. "I thought it was going to be tougher than it was but the whole group played extremely well defensively. Before we would have pressed more or cheated a little bit to get the final goal. But we kept playing the same and knew sooner or later we d get a chance to score."
The Kings are hoping to create more of those chances in Game 2 by getting in on the forecheck and grinding away at the Vancouver defense on the cycle.
"Those are our strengths and we have to exploit them," Kopitar said. "It's going to be a long series so you want to be as aggressive as you can and create scoring chances off that and just wear them down.