Given everything that’s already transpired this postseason, it was only a matter of time before we saw our first penalty shot.
On Wednesday, that time arrived.
With Vancouver on the power play and clinging to a 2-1 lead over Los Angeles midway through the third period, defenseman Kevin Bieksa coughed the puck up to Kings forward Dustin Brown…who had nothing but clear ice between himself and Canucks goalie Cory Schneider.
Bieksa — perhaps cognizant of the fact Brown’s owned Vancouver this series — tripped up the L.A. captain as he broke in alone and BAM!
Following the game Brown was complimentary of Schneider’s save, which proved to be a real game-changer. Henrik Sedin would bat in the insurance marker just moments later as the Canucks staved off elimination.
The stop was arguably the biggest of Schneider’s 44 on the night. It also marked the first time in this series that Vancouver’s goalie has been the best one on the ice, which should give the Canucks some much-needed momentum as the series shifts back to Rogers Arena on Sunday for Game 5.
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It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.