If hockey games lasted 20 minutes, the New York Rangers would have turned in a very convincing victory in Game 1 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.
But alas, hockey games are 60 minutes long, and the Rangers’ inability to carry over their first-period intensity into the final 40 minutes plus overtime resulted in a tough 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings.
The Rangers were befallen by two fatal turnovers. One was from Derek Stepan, leading to the Kings’ first goal of the game by Kyle Clifford. The other was from Dan Girardi, leading to Justin Williams’ overtime winner.
These turnovers, coupled with slow skating late in the game and the mind-boggling refusal to shoot the puck by Ranger forwards, namely Rick Nash, hastened the Rangers’ demise.
So does this mean panic time for the Rangers? Please.
They did a lot of good things in this game. And their most important player, Henrik Lundqvist, played extremely well once again.
If not for a fluky bounce, Girardi’s turnover, and Drew Doughty‘s all-world skill, Lundqvist could easily have pulled a shutout in Game 1. The team’s speed gave the Kings fits. If the penalty kill plays the way it did in Game 1, then why panic if the Rangers take an undisciplined penalty?
All kidding aside, the Rangers proved they can hang with a Western Conference powerhouse such as Los Angeles. Most importantly, the Rangers must remain focused and limit the silly mistakes scattered throughout Game 1. The same focus and determination that rallied the team to this point after being down 3-1 in the Conference Semifinals must return in Game 2.
If so, it will be much easier to believe the Rangers can win this series.