It finally happened. The Los Angeles Kings defeated the underdog New York Rangers in one of the most one-sided Stanley Cup Final series in recent memory. The lone bright spot for the Rangers was the outstanding play of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
The game ended in predictable fashion. The exhausted and bewildered Rangers hung their goaltender out to dry one time too many as they gave up an odd man rush and a great shot by Alec Martinez of the Kings managed to beat an over-worked Lundqvist.
This game was a mere microcosm of the series as a whole. The Rangers took a lead and then they took a nap. Lundqvist bent over backwards, while his teammates played dead. The Blueshirts had a 2-1 lead in the third period until cruel irony reared its ugly head as former Ranger Marion Gaborik scored the tying goal. Offensively this game was completely one-sided in favor of the Kings as they beat the Rangers in face-offs, shots, scoring opportunities and inevitably goals.
The story of this series was a Western Conference powerhouse that had won the Cup two years earlier, meeting a Vezina-caliber goalie and a bunch of teammates who couldn’t give him the support he needed on the ice. Lundqvist rose to the occasion once again, but ultimately proved that no goaltender is an island. King Henrik stopped 48 of 51 shots from the Kings while his team only mustered 30 shots in the double-overtime thriller.
It was said by many pundits and commentators after the Rangers’ victory in Game 4 to stave off elimination that depending on Lundqvist to bail them out throughout the entire game would not bring them back into this series. These words rang true Friday night in Los Angeles as the Rangers made one more mistake than Lundqvist could correct.
The Kings have another summer with Lord Stanley’s Cup while the Rangers have an entire summer to replay all those missed opportunities and times they left their goaltender out to dry and wonder what could have been and whether or not they will get a chance at redemption.