After overcoming a 2-0 deficit in their Game 1 overtime victory of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Los Angeles Kings found themselves in the exact same hole Saturday night in Game 2.
The New York Rangers dominated early, just like Game 1. Setting the high paced tempo, the Rangers were able to break the scoring open. Just over half way through the opening period, Ryan McDonagh beat Jonathan Quick with powerful wrist shot. The 1-0 lead would hold, until Mats Zuccarello got in front of the net, and tipped in McDonagh’s slapshot, for the 2-0 lead at intermission.
It wouldn’t take long for the Kings to get on the board in the second period. Jarret Stoll was finally able to beat Henrik Lundqvist two minutes into the second frame, cutting the deficit 2-1. The Rangers would take advantage of a Kings too many men penalty, as Martin St. Louis blasted a one-timer past a sprawling Quick.
After getting another two goal lead, the Rangers would be brought back to earth after Zuccarello tripping penalty. Willie Mitchell fired a slapshot from Justin Williams to bring the Kings within one. That one goal deficit was short lived, as Derick Brassard scored 11 second later to give the Rangers a 4-2 lead at the second intermission.
Things got interesting early in the third period.
With the Kings trying to claw their way back, Dwight King got a little too close to Lundqvist and made contact before tipping in his goal.
In real time it was bang-bang on whether King got in the crease before the puck, thats the explanation Lundqvist got from the referee.
“I don’t think it’s a penalty, but you’ve got to stop the play if the goalie can’t move in his crease,” Lundqvist said. “It’s not like I’m outside the crease; I play pretty deep.”
The play was momentum changing as the Kings would tie the game up a few minutes later on Marian Gaborik’s 13th goal of the season, and one that tied the game at 4. Regulation would end at a 4-4 tie, and for the second game in a row both teams headed for overtime.
The first overtime would go with no goals, but plenty of opportunities. The Rangers had two chances on the power play, while the Kings had one. The Rangers would lead on shots 8-6, though neither team would end the game.
Heading to a second overtime it was all Kings. They dominated though the entire period, and it paid off 10:26 into the extra frame. Dustin Brown deflected Willie Mitchell’s slapshot under Lundqvists arm for the game winning goal.
“Everyone is talking about how we come back, I think it’s more how we turn the tide of the game over the course of the game,” Brown said. “We’re not worried about scoring the game-winning goal. We’re worried about just playing our game, grinding away. It starts with one. That’s what our mentality is. Whether we’re down two, up two, the situation doesn’t change for us.
The Rangers played both games tough, but in the end were unable to take either game in Los Angeles. Game 3 is set for Monday at Madison Square Garden, 8 pm EST (NBCSN/CBC). The series doesn’t start until one team wins on the road, New York will have their work cut out for them the rest of the series.
“You have to move on; it’s a game,” Lundqvist said. “We all battled. I battled. We played five periods. Obviously, the difference is not very big. Even the last game, the difference is not big. You just have to stick with it and believe in each other and what we’re doing. It’s good. It’s definitely good enough; it’s just one bounce here or there and it’s a different score. We came up short in two games. Now we have to go back to New York and turn this around.”
Kings defenseman Justin Williams said it best after the game.
“Either way, we’re up 2-0,” Williams said. “I don’t care how we got here.”
photo credit: getty images gifs:officialnhl