Game 2; LA leads series 2-0
LOS ANGELES - In my Game 2 preview, I suggested that it may no longer have been such a good idea to suggest that the Los Angeles Kings need better starts to their games. After all, if the last few games are any indication, the Kings do such an outstanding job of playing catch-up that a slow start wouldn't necessarily spell trouble. Entering Game 2 on Saturday, the Kings were winners of four games this postseason where they came back from multi-goal deficits. Make that five.
In Game 1, the Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead. In Game 2, they jumped out to another 2-0 lead.
At 10:48 of the first period, Los Angeles defenseman Alec Martinez made an uncharacteristic but costly mistake in his own zone, turning the puck over to New York's Dominic Moore before feeding Ryan McDonagh at the point. McDonagh's shot found its way through a screened Jonathan Quick and the Blueshirts drew first blood again. But before the period was out, the Rangers struck again.
With just over a minute to go in the frame, the Kings were pressing. However, Matt Greene could not keep the puck in the offensive zone which led to a New York breakout. Derick Brassard and the aforementioned McDonagh skated up ice into the Los Angeles zone before Mats Zuccarello tapped in his fifth of the postseason to give the Rangers the two-goal lead. It appeared as if the Kings were out of their element. But there was still plenty of hockey left to be played.
Just 1:46 into the second, the Kings caught Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist out of position when Justin Williams set up Jarret Stoll who made no mistake for his third to put Los Angeles on the board. Dwight King helped out with the second assist. But at 11:24 of the period with the Rangers on the power play, Derek Stepan strode into the offensive zone before feeding a streaking Martin St. Louis who made no mistake, slapping his seventh up and over Quick to regain New York's two-goal lead.
But with the Kings on the power play shortly after, Willie Mitchell slapped his first of the postseason past Lundqvist to pull the home team to within a goal. Slava Voynov and Justin Williams had the assists. But the momentum was very short-lived as just 11 seconds later, Derick Brassard capitalized on a bad bounce to score his sixth and regain New York's two-goal lead yet again. It appeared as if the Kings had met their match in this one. But not so fast.
Just 1:58 into the third, Dwight Kings tipped in a Matt Greene point shot to cut the Rangers lead to one for a third time. The goal was King's third with Justin Williams picking up his third assist of the evening. Then, at the 7:36 mark of the third, controversy reared its ugly head as Marian Gaborik notched his playoff-leading 13th goal to tie the game. But on the play, it looked as if Henrik Lundqvist may have been interfered with. Nevertheless, the goal stood and as a result, this game was heading to overtime for already the second time this postseason.
Despite each netminder allowing four goals, both Jonathan Quick and Henrik Lundqvist came up with a number of key saves to keep their teams in it. But after one overtime, nothing was settled.
Through the first four periods, the shots were fairly even, but in the second overtime, the Kings outshot the Rangers 5-1 before they made their sixth one count.
At the 10:26 mark of the second overtime, Willie Mitchell took a point shot that was tipped by captain Dustin Brown and into the net. Brown's fifth of the playoffs had ended the game with many of the Rangers on the ice feeling left despondent that they let three two-goal leads slip away. Then again, such resiliency should be expected from these Los Angeles Kings.
For the second time in this series, a slow start was ended with a thrilling finish and the Los Angeles Kings, again, were victorious. But now, they will travel east to Manhattan where they vie to return to Los Angeles with a certain bit of hardware. Of course, we'll have to take that one step at a time.