Once again, the Los Angeles Kings played with fire. And, once again, they came out burn-free.
The Kings won yet another overtime game, which gave them a 2-0 series lead over the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Finals. Of course, it seems no L.A. victory is complete without a comeback involved. The first period ended with the Rangers on top, sitting on a 2-0 lead. However, it disappeared just as you’d expect it would any time the Kings are involved. In fact, a two goal lead disappeared twice for New York.
After L.A. turned the Rangers’ 4-2 lead into a 4-4 tie, Game 2 required overtime. Big shock, right? This time, though, it would take two extra frames to find a winner tonight. A Dustin Brown deflection goal finished off the long night, and now sends New York back to home ice fighting to get out of a two-game hole.
Not only will the Rangers have to overcome their series deficit in Game 3 Monday night, they’ll have to try and move on past some controversial moments from their latest loss.
The third goal for Los Angeles involved what appeared to be some interference on New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Dwight King, who scored on a deflection, did so while practically falling on top of the Rangers netminder. However, there was no call from the refs, and the goal stood. Lundqvist, for reasons obvious, was not psyched about the situation, later claiming the non-call changed the entire course of the game.
Much less dramatic but still pretty significant was another non-call midway through the second overtime, as the puck was cleared by the Kings over the glass. The play was not blown for delay of game, as the linesman said the puck deflected off the glass. Replays, though, clearly showed otherwise. Less than a minute later, the L.A. won the game.
Down 0-2 in a series, it’s very easy to get frustrated about these things, especially when they played a significant part in the defeat. The Rangers will no doubt have a lot to vent about, but they can’t let things like this get in their heads. The more they worry about things that happened in Game 2, the less focus they’ll have for Game 3 and beyond. At this point, they need to air whatever frustrations they have as soon as possible and then start gearing up for Monday’s return to home ice.
The Kings, despite their flair for the dramatic, continue to show that nothing is impossible to overcome. The amount of times L.A. has been counted out this postseason has to have reached double digits by now, and yet they’re two wins away from hoisting the Stanley Cup.
As exciting as it is to watch the Kings dig themselves out of hole after hole, they still need to find a way to try and stop falling behind so early. Sure, they’ve shown an unreal resiliency in the past two months, but it’s still incredibly risky to play from behind as often as they are. Who knows how much magic is left in this team, but if they run out soon, this series could take a sudden shift.
It goes without saying that Game 3 is a must win for New York. If the Rangers fall into a 3-0 deficit, it could all but finish them off. A victory Monday night, though, and this series becomes far from over.
The Rangers need momentum badly. A Game 3 win would definitely help the cause. If the Kings prevail, though, there may not be any more need for comeback drama on their end.