The Los Angeles Kings are just like a cockroach. No matter how many times you stomp on them, they just won’t die. For the third game in a row, including Game 7 of the Western Conference Final, the Kings overcame a two goal deficit and somehow came away with a win and take a 2-0 lead back to New York.
Dustin Brown was the hero in the second overtime period, as he tipped home Willie Mitchell‘s point shot and handcuffed Henrik Lundqvist to give the Kings the home sweep despite not having held a lead for a single second of action. In fact, they have not had a lead since the 11:33 mark of the third period of game 6, and have played the last 229:16 either tied or trailing and have won their last 3 games.
The Rangers got goals from Ryan McDonagh and Mats Zuccarello in the first period to take a 2-0 lead into the intermission, but it could be argued the Kings had them right where they wanted them. Jarret Stoll scored before the second period was 2 minutes old, bringing the Kings within one. Martin St. Louis scored on a power play to restore the two goal cushion that started a mid-period flurry. Moments after that Zuccarello was called for tripping and Mitchell found the back of the net with a slapshot through traffic. Eleven second later, Zuccarello’s forecheck created a turnover that he then slipped out to Derick Brassard who put it past Jonathan Quick to respond and show some resiliency of their own as they didn’t look like they were going to allow the Kings to draw even.
However, despite not having a great game, the Kings stayed calm and chipped away. They got within one just before the two minute mark of the third, on the most controversial play of the game. Dwight King was in a battle with Rangers defenseman McDonagh at the edge of the crease and as King battled to get in front of the net he ended up piling into Lundqvist just as Matt Greene‘s point shot got through. King got his stick on the puck while laying on Lundqvist’s leg, and the non-call for goaltender interference incensed the Rangers’ goalie and possibly caused him to lose focus for a period of time as the goal stood. Marian Gaborik got the Kings even less than 6 minutes later as he got a couple of cracks in a scramble in the slot and lifted one past Lundqvist for the tying goal, his playoff leading 13th.
The Rangers tried to answer back again, but Quick made the save of the game off Brad Richards, who was standing all alone on the doorstep but was stoned twice by the Los Angeles Kings goalie. There were chances galore through the rest of the third as well as the first 30 minutes of overtime as both teams played for the win. The Kings were outshot in the first OT period, but probably had the better chances but King, Anze Kopitar and Stoll each put quality chances just inches wide.
The Kings had a power play in OT that was closely followed by 2 Rangers advantages but neither could score with the power play. Then, just past the midway point of the 5th period, Kopitar picked up the loose puck after Mitchell’s inital shot was blocked. Kopitar passed it back to Mitchell for a reload, and his shot got through the initial shot block attempt and Brown got his stick on it just below the hash marks to redirect it to the back of the net and blow the roof off Staples Center.
You have to think the Rangers believe they deserve a better fate than being down 2-0 heading home, while the Kings have to be satisfied going to the Big Apple up 2-0 despite not playing their “A” or even “B” game. Game 3 goes Monday night.