The top-seeded Vancouver Canucks will try to get on the board in their Western Conference quarterfinal series when they visit the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center tonight for Game 3 of this best-of-seven set.
The Canucks have to be shocked to find themselves in an 0-2 hole in this series. After all, Vancouver is the defending Western Conference champions and is also coming off its second straight Presidents' Trophy as the NHL team with the best record during the regular season.
Despite those accolades, the eighth-seeded Kings, who haven't won a playoff series since 2001, posted a pair of 4-2 wins in Games 1 and 2 in Vancouver. Los Angeles, which was 22-14-5 at the Staples Center this season, will try to take control of this series with a win in tonight's home game.
The Kings will also host Wednesday's Game 4 in the City of Angels.
LA captain Dustin Brown tallied a pair of shorthanded goals to help the Kings take the 4-2 decision on Friday night at Rogers Arena. Brown, the first King to score shorthanded in the playoffs since Dave Taylor on June 3, 1993 against Montreal in the Cup Finals. also had an assist to help the Kings take a 2-0 lead back to their home arena.
Jarret Stoll and Trevor Lewis also scored while Jonathan Quick posted 46 saves for Los Angeles, which hasn't won a postseason series since beating Detroit in the 2001 conference quarterfinals.
"We're up 2-0 and of course that's what we wanted coming away from here," said Brown. "I think it's important for us to hit the reset button because this team can dominate when they want to."
Jannik Hansen and Samuel Pahlsson each lit the lamp for the for the Canucks, who have lost three straight playoff games at home, dating back to last spring's loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
"I don't think I've been in this situation before," said Pahlsson. "But we're not going to sit here and feel sorry for ourselves. We're going to get back together and play hard when we come out on the ice on Sunday."
Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo was touched for all four goals on 27 shots. He has allowed seven goals on 64 shots for an .891 save percentage in this series.
Vancouver once again played without star forward Daniel Sedin, who sat out the last nine games of the regular season and the first two tests of this series with a concussion. Sedin, who led Vancouver with 30 goals this season, has been skating on his own, but he did not make the trip to Los Angeles and will miss another test this evening.
As if giving up two shorthanded goals to the Kings in Game 2 wasn't enough, Vancouver is also 0-for-10 on the power play in this series. The Canucks had the NHL's fourth-ranked power-play unit during the regular season.
"Those are obviously momentum killers, you go out on the power play looking to generate chances and a couple unfortunate plays and it's in the back of our net," said Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa of the short-handed goals and Vancouver's issues on the power play.
"There's no secret we need to be better on our power play. We have to get on the same page, that's what it comes down to. The five guys have to get on the same page."
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.
Vancouver was 24-12-5 as the guest this season.