By Dominic Lancella on June 14, 2014
Most Cinderella stories don’t have a happy ending; they end with tears of sadness and disappointment. The New York Rangers are no different, as they lost the Stanley Cup Finals to the Los Angeles Kings in five games. New York’s ending is more heartbreaking than most because of the circumstances of each loss. Each loss was tougher than the last, leaving the Rangers wondering what might have been. Here are five reasons why they came up short.
The Rangers are a deep team, but the Kings outplayed them for most of the series in many different ways. LA’s depth was evident as all four lines contributed in the series. The cup-winning goal in overtime of Game 5 was created by fourth-liners Tyler Toffoli and Kyle Clifford. The Kings' leading scorer Anze Kopitar had just two points in the series, but it didn't matter much. Overall, the Kings' depth was just too much for the Rangers to handle.
At times, the Rangers were sloppy in their own zone and got burned by giveaways. The most notable was a terrible pass by defenseman Dan Girardi that was intercepted and turned into the overtime winner in Game 1. The Rangers repeatedly had trouble breaking out of their zone in Game 5, and as a result, they weren’t getting through the neutral zone with speed. New York’s speed was a big reason for its playoff run, but the Kings took it away.
The Rangers held the lead during all three games at Staples Center. They held two-goal leads in the first two games, but could never hold off Kings comebacks. They blew the lead in all three games and eventually lost in overtime, with two of them coming in double OT. Simply put—if the Rangers protect those leads better, the series is drastically different. It's no excuse and the Kings deserve credit for their tremendous resiliency.
The Kings' net-minder had an inconsistent postseason, but played his best in the finals when it was needed most. He single-handedly stoned the Rangers in Game 3 and earned a shut out. The Kings stole that game despite being outshot 32-15; Quick was the reason why. He also outlasted Henrik Lundqvist in the three overtimes and held off the Rangers until his team could get the game-winner.
All five games could have gone either way. Most of them went the Kings’ way because New York couldn’t score the big goal when it needed it. The Rangers hit the post in almost every OT and also had plenty of open looks that missed the net altogether. Lundqvist gave them a chance to win the series, but nobody stepped up to deliver the big goal at a clutch time. Quick played great, but the Rangers needed to bury more of their Grade-A chances.
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