April 19, 2012 8:20 am

The Key Three: April 18

Just before last night’s game, in our chat — thanks for Jim Fox for participating, and to all of you as well — Jim asked me for three keys to the game. I picked 1) the Kings’ ability to manage the first 10 minutes, 2) power plays and 3) the matchup in goal. Two of the three went Vancouver’s way. Goalie Cory Schneider justified the faith shown in him by coach Alain Vigneault, as he turned in a tremendous, clutch effort. The Canucks scored two power-play goals and didn’t allow any. It seemed reasonable to think, though, that the Canucks would start the must-win game strong and that the Kings would have to weather an early storm. It turned out precisely the opposite way.

The Kings dominated the first period and easily could have scored three goals. They got one, but when the Canucks came with an expected push-back in the second period, the Kings couldn’t handle it. The Canucks skated, hit and moved the puck with confidence and authority and took a 2-1 lead going into the third period, then iced the game with an amazing sequence in which they stopped a penalty shot, then scored a power-play goal less than 30 seconds later. The Kings missed an enormous opportunity to close out the series. The must-win pressure is still on the Canucks, but now they get three days to regroup, and all they have to do is win a home game in order to make it a 3-2 series. What was the key aspect of the Kings’ 3-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks in Game 4? I present three options at the link below, and you can vote for your choice…

The Key Three: April 18

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For those who enjoy the traditional game recap, it can be found by clicking here.

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