LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 31: Daniel Sedin #22 of the Vancouver Canucks shoves Drew Doughty #8 of the Los Angeles Kings after the whistle in the third during the NHL game at Staples Center on December 31, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Kings defeated the Canucks 4-1. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

Vancouver Canucks Vs. Los Angeles Kings, NHL Playoffs 2012: Complete Series Coverage

The Los Angeles Kings used a strong stretch run to qualify for the postseason, but they have the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks to deal with now that they're there.

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25 Total Updates since April 9, 2012
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Byron Bitz Suspended 2 Games For Kyle Clifford Hit

Byron Bitz has been suspended two games by the NHL for his hit on Kyle Clifford in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals, the league announced on Thursday evening. He'll miss Games 2 and 3 of the series, while it's still unknown just how long Clifford will be out with the injury he sustained on the play.

Here's the explanation from NHL player safety chief Brendan Shanahan:

It's clear that injury is a major component in the decision whether or not to suspend a player. In opting not to suspend Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators for his, um, predatory smash of Henrik Zetterberg's head, Shanahan cited the lack of injury to the Detroit Red Wings forward on the play -- even though concussion symptoms could still potentially arise down the line.

By injuring Clifford, however, Bitz likely solidified his suspension, even if the intent wasn't there like it clearly was on Weber's hit. He'll sit for two games as a result and the Canucks will go on without him.

Stick with SBNation.com for full series coverage of Kings vs. Canucks.

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Canucks Vs. Kings, NHL Playoffs 2012 Game 1: Dustin Penner Scores Late Game-Winner, L.A. Up 1-0

The Los Angeles Kings have been one of the strongest clubs in the NHL since the trade deadline, and they didn't let their status as a No. 8 seed in the Western Conference deter them against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night. Mike Richards led the Kings into Rogers Arena, where they used a late Dustin Penner goal to pull out what ultimately became a 4-2 victory in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

Yeah, I think Jeff Carter meant to kick that puck over to Dustin Penner. Crazy skilled, crazy goal. Game-winning goal, in fact. Dustin Brown sealed the victory with an empty-net goal with 18 seconds left in the game.

Special teams play was big in this one. The Kings killed off five Vancouver power play attempts while scoring on two of their own eight attempts. The real winner in this one, however, is the Los Angeles Kings' official Twitter account. And apparently the majority of Canada:

Stick with SBNation.com for full series coverage of Kings vs. Canucks. For more on the Kings, check out Los Angeles Kings blog Jewels From The Crown and SB Nation LA. For more on the Canucks, head over to Vancouver Canucks blog Nucks Misconduct. We'll have coverage of every playoff series at SB Nation's NHL Hub.

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Canucks Vs. Kings, NHL Playoffs 2012 Game 1: Alex Edler Scores Late In Second, Knots Score At 2-2

Alex Edler scored late in the second period to tie Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals between the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings at two goals apiece. It was a long floater of a point shot that found its way through traffic untouched before somehow fooling Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.

The goal was huge for Vancouver as it came just eight seconds before the team was set to enter the second intermission in a 2-1 hole. Willie Mitchell opened that lead for the Kings just three minutes prior to the Edler goal on a similar-type point shot that got through a screen set in front of Roberto Luongo.

The Kings aren't playing like a No. 8 seed in this one, but the No. 1-seeded Canucks might have all the jump after the late second-period tally.

Stick with SBNation.com for full series coverage of Kings vs. Canucks. For more on Sedin's injury and the playoff run from the Vancouver perspective, check in with Nucks Misconduct.

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Stanley Cup Playoffs 2012, Canucks Vs. Kings Preview: Can Jon Quick, L.A. Defense Stop Vancouver Attack?

Can the iron-clad defense of the Kings hold off one of the most powerful offenses in the NHL? It all may come down to who gets healthy first, and whose secondary players step up.

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NHL Playoffs 2012: Late-Season Surge Has Los Angeles Kings Looking Forward To Deep Run

A late season surge helped the Los Angeles Kings qualify for the postseason, and now that they're in, they have upset on their minds.

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