Sunday, June 08, 2014

Kings put Rangers on thin ice with 2 game to 0 lead heading back to New York City

Getting off to fast starts isn't working particularly well for the New York Rangers, who have seen two consecutive games slip away at the hands of a rather resilient, if at times lucky Los Angeles Kings squad.

Considering the amount of hockey that both teams have played on their way to the Stanley Cup Final, the prospect of extra minutes tacked on is most likely something that you would think that the Rangers and Kings would want to avoid.

But, two games into the East Coast/West Coast showdowns, playing on has taken a whole new meaning.

Game One saw the Kings chip away at the Rangers two goal lead of the first period, taking things into a fairly quick Overtime session, which saw Los Angeles claim its first victory but four minutes into the extra frame. With Justin Williams capitalizing on a Dan Girardi turnover to secure the Kings the first W of the Best of Seven Series.

Game Two once again found the Rangers storming off the bench to stake themselves to a two goal lead, something which as we may be learning is about as welcome as root canal.

The Kings found themselves down the two goals heading into period number two, quickly grabbing
one back before the period was but two minutes old.

The Rangers would regain their two goal margin by mid period but holding the advantage would prove troublesome, the Kings turn right around and shaving the difference by one again three minutes later.

The pace of the game though would deliver the Rangers yet one more chance to try and secure a road win, as eleven seconds later they were back in the lead by two goals, a 4-2 spread that would hold until the start of period three.

The Kings revisited a familiar theme in the final twenty, clawing their way back from what seemed like a likely defeat to  closing the gap and then drawing even all before the eight minute mark.

And while there were many chances for both teams to try and snare what could have been the winning goal in regulation time, neither could find the range, setting the scene for the next thirty minutes of desperation hockey.

Not one, but two Overtime periods would play out at the Staples Centre, a first frame of twenty where the chances were there, but the goal tending and defensive assignments held the day.

The second overtime appeared that it may be going the same route as the first as each time found space in the others end, but could not deliver the final marker to secure victory. Until the 10:26 mark of period, the 90th minute of play on the night when Dustin Brown tipped in a Willie Mitchell shot, providing the Kings with  the victory and a commanding 2 game to 0 lead.

For Alain Vigneault's Rangers the frustrations must be in the process of getting into their heads, two consecutive games where in lengthy stretches they clearly outplayed their hosts, only to watch them hang on, recharge and then take charge of the game at key moments and now with the prospect of closing down the 2014 season in New York by Wednesday.

The Rangers will need to focus on the positives of their play in California, banishing the turnovers and at times sloppy mistakes that provided the crack for the Kings to break games open.

New York's season comes down to the knowledge that there is no longer any room for error, two more losses and 2014 will marked in the playoff journals as the year the Rangers came close to recapturing the passion of 1994, only to see it slip away to a tenacious Kings squad that seemingly never lets doubt get in the way of the path they are following.

Two more wins and that path takes them home to LA and another chance to show off a trophy or two.

National Post-- Los Angeles Kings' Dustin Brown scores in double overtime for another comeback win over New York Rangers
CBC Sports-- Dustin Brown does it all for the Kings
New York Post-- Rangers lose heartbreaker in double OT, now in 2-0 hole
New York Daily News-- NY Rangers drop second straight to Kings on Dustin Brown deflection in 2OT loss
Newsday-- Lead squandered, Rangers just can't cash in on big chances in 2 - OT loss to Kings
Los Angeles Times-- Kings Game 2 win is a masterpiece
Los Angeles Daily News-- Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown scores double overtime goal for biggest play of post season
USA Today-- Comeback Kings grab 2-0 series lead vs. Rangers
The Hockey News-- Dustin Brown scores OT winner, Rangers blow another lead in Stanley Cup Final

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