The New York Rangers took a 4-2 lead into the third period in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Los Angeles Kings, and as a Rangers fan, like myself, you felt good about things but still realized the Rangers had a huge job to do in the final frame.
Bad on-call aside, where Kings forward Dwight King looked to interfere with Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist on the goal in the third period that cut the Rangers’ lead to 4-3, the Rangers ended up squandering yet another two-goal lead in back-to-back games withthe Kings, leading to the team’s second straight overtime. Game 2 though would last an extra period, going into a second overtime, but show the same result as Game 1.
While one can make the case that the Rangers have surprisingly outplayed the Kings for the majority of the first two games of this series, the fact of the matter is that the Kings ended up on top of both games; and that falls squarely on the Rangers’ shortcomings and not the Kings’ comeback ability.
You can tell me until you are blue in the face how the Kings are the most resilient NHL team of all time, but that does not change the fact that if the Rangers were more careful with the puck it would be them up 2-0 in this series and not the Kings.
Lazy, ill-advised passes and failed clear attempts out of their defensive zone have cost the Rangers dearly in this series, and that is the root cause as to why they are down 0-2 in the Stanley Cup Final. Blame the referees all you want, but the Rangers have no one to blame but themselves and their sloppy play. That’s what has not only caused them to squander back-to-back two-goal leads in Game 1 and Game 2, but has put their Stanley Cup dreams in serious jeopardy.