There seemed to be widespread panic yesterday in Vancouver after the Canucks lost to Anaheim. The Canucks lost a game! They had won four of their previous five and have won two-thirds of their games this season. They’re doing just fine. In terms of facing the Kings this season, there have been two very different games, both at Staples Center. On Nov. 10, the Canucks won 3-2 after they took a 3-0 first-period lead. On Dec. 31, the Kings beat the Canucks 4-1. Kings assistant coach John Stevens said he doesn’t expect much of a carry-over from either game.
STEVENS: “It seems like maybe years ago, in the regular season, each game didn’t have its own atmosphere and attitude. But I think now, in the 82-game season, with how tight it is every night, it seems like if anything, that’s going to motivate Vancouver, because we beat them last time and they’re coming off a loss (Sunday) night. We know we’re going to have to be ready. We know we’re going to get their best game and we just have to focus on ourselves here. We’re going to have to play better than we did (Sunday) night.”
Another difference between the two games is that Darryl Sutter was behind the bench for the second game, but not the first. Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault was asked if he saw any difference in the Kings under Sutter.
VIGNEAULT: “I always felt, playing against the Kings, that they were well-structured and really dependable defensively, and I see those same characteristics right now. I think their new coach has them trying to go on the attack a little bit more at the right time. As a group, they’re playing real solid hockey at both ends of the rink.”