VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -This time Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo's sprawling save attempt sunk the Canucks instead of rescuing them.
Anze Kopitar's power-play shot 7:28 into overtime was knocked in by Luongo as the Los Angeles Kings overcame a two-goal deficit to beat the Canucks 3-2 on Saturday night, tying the Western Conference series at a game apiece.
With the Canucks penalized for too many men after a sloppy line change, Kopitar got his own rebound in close and fired a quick shot that Luongo stopped. But after diving to knock a puck off the line in Vancouver's Game 1 overtime win, this time when Luongo spun back the puck hit the end of his stick and went in.
``He made the save,' said Kopitar, who also set up the tying goal. ``The puck was in the air and he was reaching back. It hit his knob and went in.'
The overtime penalty came after a Kings player shot the puck toward the bench and it hit a player as he was coming off the ice amid a crowd of Canucks near the gate. It took a little more than a minute to convert it as Los Angeles improved to 4 for 9 on the power play in the series.
``Surprised? I don't know,' Kopitar said. ``I saw they had a couple too many on the ice. I don't know it that's the call you make in the OT, but we certainly don't care. We got it, we capitalized on it and we split the series.'
Not surprisingly, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault disagreed with the penalty.
``It was the wrong call,' he said. ``You are allowed 5 feet and the rule is the player coming on the ice cannot play the puck. While, yeah that puck touched one of our players, it touched Kevin Bieksa trying to get off the ice because he was cut. We've got two referees that got red stripes on their sweaters. They should make the call if they think it's a penalty and not the linesman.'
Fredrik Modin and Wayne Simmonds scored 35 seconds apart midway through the second period to tie it for the Kings, who will host Game 3 on Monday night.
``To be able to get a split, to play in this building and deal with the emotion of playing in Canada, it was a real good, solid team effort,' Kings coach Terry Murray said. ``The young guys played well. They played like veterans for me.'
Jonathan Quick overcame a soft early goal - and two on the first four shots - to finish with 24 saves for his first win in 10 starts dating to March 22.
``You want it back but you can't do anything about it at that point,' Quick said about Mikael Samuelsson's skipping 35-foot shot, which eluded him to give the Canucks a 2-0 lead just 9:49 in. ``As soon as they drop the puck again you completely forget about it because it's a still a two-goal game, you're still in it and there's still a lot of hockey to play. The team responded.'
Steve Bernier, on a power play, also scored in the first period, and Luongo finished with 29 saves as the Canucks gave the Kings' power play, which ranked seventh in the regular season and was 2 for 3 in Game 1, six chances.
``You give a team six penalties they're going to capitalize, said Ryan Kesler, who had two assists. ``We've got to figure it out and stay out of the box.
Modin scored on the Kings' fourth power play and, after Quick made a couple good saves on a scramble, Canucks defenseman Sami Salo tripped to create a 3-on-1 break, with Kopitar feeding across to Simmonds for a quick shot to tie it.
Simmonds was on the Kings' top line as part of a significant roster shakeup by coach Terry Murray that saw three players taken out of the lineup despite coming within an inch of winning Game 1 in overtime. The most significant was removing veteran Justin Williams, who won a Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006, from the top forward line and parking him in the press box as a healthy scratch.
``Simmonds played tremendous,' Murray said. ``He was twice the player he was in Game 1, I felt. He's skating. He's on the puck. He played heavier. He played grittier.'
Murray also sat out defenseman Randy Jones for playoff rookie Peter Harrold, took tough guy Raitis Ivanans off the fourth line, and inserted forwards Rich Clune and Scott Parse, who both made their postseason debuts. The moves added speed to a lineup that spent much of Game 1 chasing the Canucks in their own end 5-on-5, and not enough time on the forecheck. They didn't lead to a lot more offense, but helped defensively as the Canucks had 26 shots after firing 44 in Game 1.
``We showed a lot of character,' said Kopitar. ``We really got our game going, the forecheck and the cycle and we got rewarded. We just kept going after them and it paid off.'
NOTES: Vancouver LW Michael Grabner, who had a hat trick on April 2 in Anaheim, made his playoff debut after being a healthy scratch in Game 1, replacing Matt Pettinger on the fourth line. Canucks D Andrew Alberts, who was in the penalty box for both Kings goals in Game 1, took Vancouver's first two penalties and three overall. ... Kings captain Dustin Brown, second in the NHL with 287 hits this season, wasn't credited with any in Game 1, but had four in Game 2.
The Associated Press News Service
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