Even though the Vancouver Canucks are still in a massive hole, they took one step toward getting out of it on Wednesday night. The Los Angeles Kings were unable to pull off a sweep in their own building as Cory Schneider put together a fantastic performance in goal in a 3-1 Canucks victory.
The first period was all LA and, even though Vancouver took the lead in the second period, the Kings were in control of that period as well. Anze Kopitar scored his first goal of the series 13 minutes into the first period, skipping past Mason Raymond following a Canucks turnover, then beating Cory Schneider glove side. It would be the last time in the game that Schneider didn't look sharp.
By the end of the second period, the Kings had 31 shots on target, but no more goals. Vancouver tied the game four minutes into the second period with a power play goal by Alexander Edler, aided by a great screen by Ryan Kesler. Four minutes later, they took the lead on a bit of a fluke goal. Kevin Bieksa was given the goal in the box score, but the real credit belongs with the stick of Mike Richards. The Kings centerman tipped Bieksa's shot and it deflected in a way that made it impossible for Jonathan Quick to make a save.
The third period featured three wild momentum shifts back-to-back-to-back, and that sequence early in the period would ultimately define the game. LA got off to a great start in the opening minutes of the period, but Slava Voynov was called for a hooking penalty just under four minutes into the third, sending Vancouver on the power play. On that ensuing power play, Dustin Brown took advantage of a Vancouver turnover and surged down the ice for a breakaway. His skates were hacked at from behind, and he was granted a shorthanded penalty shot.
Brown had some tricks up his sleeve to attempt to beat Schneider, but the Canucks goalie didn't bite on Brown's fakes and came up huge with a save that completely and instantly shifted the momentum back to his team.
Seconds later, Vancouver doubled their lead. Henrik Sedin scored his first goal of the series to make it 3-1, with his brother Daniel providing the assist in his first game back from a concussion. Though Vancouver wasn't their sharpest all day long and Daniel Sedin did not play his best all-around game, the passing exchanges between the twins looked better than anything Vancouver produced in the first three games, and it was easy to see what has been missing.
Los Angeles will still feel great about their chances to win this series but, with a road win under their belt, a hot goalie and Daniel Sedin back on the ice, this could be a great series instead of a walkover.