Echo Special Feature: Los Angeles Kings fall to Vancouver Canucks in shootout

Yousef Manna, Sports Editor


The Echo had the opportunity to take part in the Los Angeles Kings ice hockey team’s gameday experience on Saturday, March 18 by sitting in on practice at the Toyota Sports Performance Center and attending the National Hockey League game against the Vancouver Canucks at Arena. 

In-form Vancouver Canucks, who have now won seven of their last eight National Hockey League games, handed the Los Angeles Kings their 10th overtime loss of the season, prevailing in the shootout to win the game with a final score of 3-2. 

The Kings missed their two shootout attempts, while the visitors scored both to secure the victory. 

Todd McLellan, head coach of the Kings, was wary of the threat the Canucks possessed ahead of the game.

“They score a lot of goals, their powerplay is dangerous, their top players are very much a threat…they have got a renewed life,” McLellan said in a press conference after the Kings’ morning skate. 

On the back of a few years of hardship that saw the Kings finish bottom in the Western Conference standings in the 2018-19 season, the team returned to the playoffs in the 2021-22 season following a squad rebuild that added multiple young prospects.

The Kings are having one of their best seasons in NHL history, as they sit in second place in the Western Conference standings with 12 games remaining. The Kings’ highest-ever finish in the Western Conference is fifth. 

“We’ve actually scored more this year and understood who we are. So it’s worked,” McLellan said regarding the evolution of the team. 

The Kings came into the game against 12th-placed Canucks also winning seven of their last eight games. Despite facing 17 shots, which was the fewest the Kings have allowed this season, they were unable to separate themselves from the visitors as Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko made 38 saves.

The first period of the game ended in a tie, and in the second period, Kings right winger Carl Grundstrom scored his ninth goal of the season to put the home team up. Vancouver responded in the third period as they grabbed the equalizer, and the game remained tied until the shootout.

“We had a ton of chances. The goaltender made a lot of saves…it just didn’t go our way,’’ McLellan said in the post-game press conference. 

Vancouver Head Coach Rick Tocchet praised Demko’s “incredible” performance, which he said kept them in the game. 

“I think we did pretty well,” defenseman Jordan Spence said. “Full sixty minutes I thought we were pretty solid…it was unfortunate that they scored on the powerplay but besides that I thought we did well on the defensive side.” 

The Los Angeles Kings’ next game is on Monday, March 20 at 7:30 p.m. against ninth-placed Calgary Flames, who are also vying for their place in the playoffs.