The Los Angeles Kings spoiled the Vancouver Canucks party with a 2-1 shootout victory Saturday during an evening of tributes and celebrations at Rogers Arena.
Anze Kopitar and Jack Johnson scored on their shootout opportunities, while Vancouver's Mason Raymond and Ryan Kesler missed their chances, handing the visitors a come-from-behind win.
The game's first goal was scored by Canucks defenceman Christian Ehrhoff on the power play in the second period. Henrik and Daniel Sedin drew assists. Roberto Luongo made 31 saves and lost the shutout in the final five minutes when Justin Williams tapped home a rebound on L.A.'s fifth power play of the game.
The Canucks goalie was superb during a four-on-three Kings power play in the overtime period, when the puck stayed in Vancouver's zone for the entire two minutes. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick was very good at the other end and made 23 stops.
The Kings went 1-for-5 with the man-advantage, and free-agent signing Alexei Ponikarovsky took three minor penalties. Kopitar was hit by a high-stick from Vancouver's Manny Malhotra in the second period, and appeared to loose some teeth. He skated off to the dressing room -- towel covering his mouth -- but returned for the third period.
It was an evenly matched 60 minutes, and both teams wore their uniforms from 1970 in honour of the Canucks' 40th anniversary.
But what the game lacked in entertainment value, it made up for with nostalgia and emotion. A sampling from the surrounding atmosphere:
Henrik Sedin was named the 13th captain in club history, the new 'C'-adorned sweater presented by original captain Orland Kurtenbach during the pre-game ceremony. Sedin picked his own alternate captains, who will rotate wearing 'A's. They are: Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kesler, Manny Malhotra and Kevin Bieksa. Sedin, underappreciated in Vancouver until his scoring championship and MVP season in 2009-10, received a standing ovation.
As much as the evening celebrated 40 years of Canucks hockey, it also feted the retiring broadcaster. Larscheid, Vancouver's radio colour analyst for the last 33 years, was on his final broadcast and luminaries who recorded personal send-offs included NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, singer Michael Bublé, and Scotty Bowman, and the NHL's most successful all-time coach. A second period video tribute, to Frank Sinatra's My Way, drew a standing ovation, as well as some emotion from Larscheid. "Oh my God, this is unbelievable," he said.
Sixteen members of Vancouver's original 1970-71 were paraded out to centre ice. The biggest applause was saved for defenceman Pat Quinn, better known to current Canucks fans as a beloved general manager and head coach. The ceremonial face-off included the puck from the first goal in franchise history -- Barry Wilkins in the inaugural game.