It takes a special breed of player to go from goat to hero in less than a full hockey game, but the Los Angeles Kings’ Drew Doughty did just that. When Doughty tried a high-risk play at the blue line that led to a turnover that ultimately gave the New York Rangers an early 1-0 lead, it looked like all the minutes he had played in the playoffs had caught up with him. As the game wore on this would be anything but the case.
Doughty’s first period left a lot to be desired as his physical and mental mistakes kept the Kings from mounting a consistent attack. Once the second period rolled around it was the Doughty we were used to seeing all playoffs long as No. 8 made even the most difficult of plays look easy.
With the Kings trailing 2-1 in the second period it was Doughty who scored a highlight-reel goal that would’ve made Bobby Orr proud to naught the game at 2. Per usual Doughty’s contributions were not limited to the scoresheet as he played nearly 27 minutes and set the tone defensively in so many ways, especially after his blunder-filled first period.
Doughty was also involved in a skirmish with New York forward Chris Kreider who got a piece of Doughty with what appeared to be the butt-end of his stick. This only seemed to further motivate Doughty who took out his frustration on the Rangers throughout the rest of the game. Doughty’s strong play through 60 minutes of regulation set the stage for the Kings’ dramatic overtime win.
The Kings have three more games to win to close out the Rangers and they’ll need Doughty to play at the level he is capable of to do it quickly. While Doughty is known as an emotional player, he’ll need to find a fine line between playing emotionally and allowing them to impact his adversely impact his game. With Doughty’s track record and play in these playoffs, it’s a safe bet he’ll do just that and lead the Kings to their second Stanley Cup in three seasons.