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Kings take 2-0 series lead over Canucks

Dustin Brown scores two short-handed goals, tying an NHL record, as the Kings defeat Vancouver, 4-2.

April 13, 2012|Helene Elliott

VANCOUVER, Canada — Dustin Brown is not the type of captain who screams. He's not fiery by nature, and maybe that fueled speculation the struggling Kings would trade him before the deadline in order to turn around a disappointing season and get a better shot at a playoff spot.

What Brown supposedly lacks doesn't matter. The physicality and fierce determination he has brought to his game the past six weeks have proved he's in his rightful place as the captain, a point he underscored Friday by scoring two short-handed goals in the Kings' 4-2 playoff upset of the top-seeded Canucks before an unhappy sellout crowd at Rogers Arena.

Brown's two short-handed goals tied an NHL single-game playoff record and represented the third time in their history the Kings had scored two short-handed goals in a playoff game. It was also only the third time the Kings won the first two games of a playoff series. They prevailed in the first two games of a best-of-seven quarterfinal series against Minnesota in 1968 — and went on to lose in seven games — and won the first two to clinch a best-of-three preliminary-round series against the then-Atlanta Flames in 1976.

Adding his name to those historic notes meant only one thing to Brown, who was initially credited with the Kings' third goal, a power-play jam at 8:30 of the third period, before it was correctly changed to Jarret Stoll.

"The only reason that you can break records in the postseason is because you make it," Brown said, knowing that was never a sure thing as the Kings slid to eighth in the West.

"Records are not my focus right now. I'm looking at getting wins every game."

The Kings won both games here in convincing fashion, scoring three power-play goals and two short-handed goals in the two games while holding the Canucks scoreless in 10 advantages. The series will shift to Staples Center for Games 3 and 4 Sunday and Wednesday.

The Kings on Friday let the Canucks take pratfalls in repeated failed attempts to draw penalties. While the Canucks took dives, the Kings stood up to everything Vancouver threw at them, boosted by a 46-save performance from goaltender Jonathan Quick.

"It was a big effort by everybody and especially Brownie," center Anze Kopitar said. "He's been our leader the whole season and he had a big one tonight."

Brown scored his first goal at 19:51 of the first period. Willie Mitchell had been sent to the penalty box at 17:54, but the Canucks couldn't get anything

started offensively and

were badly confused defensively, and the Kings capitalized.

Goalie Roberto Luongo had made an excellent save on Kopitar with the toe of his left skate when the Canucks' defense collapsed around him and no one captured the rebound. Nor did anyone try to take out Brown, who rifled a shot from the right circle.

The Canucks pulled even merely 17 seconds into the second period on Jannik Hansen's tip of a Henrik Sedin shot, but Brown pulled off another short-handed score — again with Mitchell in the box — to give the Kings a 2-1 lead.

After Vancouver defenseman Dan Hamhuis fell at the blue line, Brown zipped up the right side on a breakaway. He made several nice moves before slipping a backhander past Luongo at 5:17.

Before Friday, the only times the Kings had scored two short-handed goals in a playoff game were April 9, 1980, on goals by Mike Murphy and Andre St. Laurent, and May 21, 1993, on goals by Jari Kurri and Dave Taylor.

After Stoll jammed the puck home from close range for a 3-1 Kings lead, Trevor Lewis extended that to 4-1 before Vancouver's Sammy Pahlsson scored on a backhander with 3:38 left in the third.

But that was all the Canucks could do against a determined Brown and equally determined Kings team.

"It was one of those games where I think everyone understands the edge you can have going back to home ice," Brown said. "Now it's important for this team to understand that and take advantage of it."

And, perhaps, to write its own playoff history.

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