The Los Angeles Kings will get another opportunity to win their Western Conference quarterfinals series tonight, as they visit the top- seeded Vancouver Canucks for Game 5 at Rogers Arena.
Both clubs should be well rested for this matchup, as the teams haven't played since Vancouver staved off elimination with a 3-1 road win in Wednesday's Game 4. The Canucks will try to cut the series deficit to 3-2 by posting their first home win of this series. Vancouver was 27-10-4 as the host during the regular season, while the Kings were 18-13-10 as the guest.
If the Canucks are able to get another win tonight, this series will head back to Los Angeles for Game 6 on Tuesday.
Backed by the return of Daniel Sedin, the Canucks stayed alive with Wednesday's road win. Sedin had been out since March 21 after suffering a concussion, but his return was right on time as he posted an assist and three shots to help Vancouver avoid the sweep.
Kevin Bieksa, Alexander Edler and Henrik Sedin each posted a goal while Dan Hamhuis added two assists for the Canucks. Meanwhile, Cory Schneider, making his second straight start in place of an ineffective Roberto Luongo, posted 43 saves in the win.
"We needed, obviously, a few of our guys to elevate their performance and obviously Schneider came up real big for us tonight," said Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault. "He gave us a chance in the first period when our guys were a little bit tight and not as quick as far as moving the puck and doing the right things. He gave us a chance to get our legs and find our hands and after that I thought we played pretty good."
Anze Kopitar scored his first goal of the series for the eighth-seeded Kings, who received 27 saves from Jonathan Quick in the loss.
"Actually, I thought we played better than we did last game," said Los Angeles head coach Darryl Sutter. "The difference was 22 [Daniel Sedin] and 33's [Henrik Sedin] performance."
Schneider came up big with a penalty-shot save on LA captain Dusting Brown at 5:23 of the third period. Moments later, Henrik Sedin would score to give Vancouver a 3-1 advantage.
"We're not a team that scores a lot and you have to score on your opportunities and we had a borderline whistle/ non-goal and we missed the penalty shot," said Sutter. "So we could be just standing here talking about a totally different thing right now."
Despite Wednesday's win, Vancouver, which lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals to Boston last spring, is still the verge of becoming the sixth Presidents' Trophy winner to be eliminated in the first round. The Kings are trying to become the 10th No. 8 seed to upset a No. 1 since the current playoff format began in 1994.
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.