O'Brien seeing lots of action as Canucks meet Kings

By Jeff Gard, Northumberland Today

After the first two games, the first-round NHL playoff series between the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings is even at a game apiece.

The series features Northumberland's NHL stars: Cobourg's Justin Williams, of the Kings, and Port Hope's Shane O'Brien, of the Canucks. Former Cobourg Cougars defence-man Randy Jones also plays for the Kings.

Williams and Jones, however, were both scratched for Game 2 Saturday night as Los Angeles shook up its roster after a 3-2 overtime loss on Thursday.

A big factor in the decision, according to the Kings' website, were key turnovers made by both players; one by Williams before Vancouver's second goal and another by Jones, in the neutral-zone in overtime, which led to the winning goal.

"I need them to have a bigger bite in the game. Both players are veteran guys. We added players such as Williams and Jones to be important players at this time of the year," Kings' coach Terry Murray told"I think, on Williams' side of it, unfortunately with his severe leg injury, he has worked very hard to get himself back to the level of game that he was playing before the injury. There have been games that I have seen that play, but it's just not there right now.

"It's a very drastic move, I know," Murray added. "It's a hard move for a coach to make. It's one of the hardest things you do as a coach, is take a veteran player out of the lineup and try to get the player to understand why."

For his part on Saturday, Williams -- who played over 15 minutes in Game 1 -- told the club's website, "It's about the Kings and the Canucks tonight. It's not about me."

Meanwhile, O'Brien has played nearly 20 minutes in each of the first two games. In Saturday's match-up, he was called for a holding penalty that led to the Kings' first goal as they ultimately rallied from a two-goal deficit to win 3-2 in overtime.

O'Brien, though, had a plus-1 rating on the ice.

Game 3 on Monday night and Game 4 on Wednesday night are both in Los Angeles before the series returns to Vancouver for the fifth game on Friday night.

Note: An incorrect byline was placed on the Apr. 15 story "Williams, O'Brien to meet in quest for Cup." The story was written by Jeff Gard.