LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings got away with it again. Two more times and they'll be Stanley Cup champions.
"We have to be able to come back," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "You're not going to lead every game."
The Kings have fallen into two-goal holes and never come back to actually take the lead in three straight games, but they've won them all. The latest came in double overtime Saturday in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center.
Kings captain Dustin Brown deflected defenseman Willie Mitchell's shot from the left point under goalie Henrik Lundqvist's left arm at 10:26 of the second overtime to lift the Kings to a 5-4 victory against the New York Rangers.
The Kings haven't held a lead in their past 229:15, which goes back to the third period of Game 6 of the Western Conference Final. They lost that game to the Chicago Blackhawks, but have won the past three in overtime despite falling into 2-0 holes in the first period each time.
They are the first team in NHL history to win three straight Stanley Cup Playoff games after falling into two-goal deficits.
The Kings also won Games 1 and 2 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final in overtime and went on to beat the New Jersey Devils in six games to win their first championship.
They lead this year's best-of-7 championship series 2-0, with Game 3 scheduled for Monday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
"Everyone is talking about how we come back, I think it's more how we turn the tide of the game over the course of the game," Brown said. "We're not worried about scoring the game-winning goal. We're worried about just playing our game, grinding away. It starts with one. That's what our mentality is. Whether we're down two, up two, the situation doesn't change for us.
"The mentality of our team is very black and white. We've been missing that in the first period. In saying that, our mentality, it allows us to stay in games and to kind of turn the tide over the course of the game."
The Kings waited until the second period to start turning the tide Saturday; they were trailing 2-0 after the first period. But it wasn't until the third when Los Angeles finally leaned on the Rangers enough to tie the game.
"We still have huge room for improvement," said forward Justin Williams, who had three assists in Game 2 after scoring the overtime winner in Game 1. "We can only get better."
Although the Rangers felt they played better than they did in Game 1, when they blew a 2-0 lead and lost 3-2 on Williams' OT winner, there was a sense of frustration in their dressing room.
The picture of that was Lundqvist, who had his head down and buried under his hands when the media was allowed in the room.
However, he rallied as he spoke to reporters and tried to spin a positive out of what is obviously a negative situation.
"You have to move on; it's a game," Lundqvist said. "We all battled. I battled. We played five periods. Obviously, the difference is not very big. Even the last game, the difference is not big. You just have to stick with it and believe in each other and what we're doing. It's good. It's definitely good enough; it's just one bounce here or there and it's a different score. We came up short in two games. Now we have to go back to New York and turn this around."
Lundqvist was particularly frustrated that King's goal, which made it 4-3 at 1:58 of the third period, was allowed to stand. He thought the referee should have blown his whistle and disallowed the goal because King made contact with him in the crease.
King and Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh were jostling for position in front of Lundqvist when Kings defenseman Matt Greene shot the puck from the right point. King got a piece of the shot and ended up falling on Lundqvist, who was immediately furious.
"I don't think it's a penalty, but you've got to stop the play if the goalie can't move in his crease," Lundqvist said. "It's not like I'm outside the crease; I play pretty deep."
Lundqvist said that referee Dan O'Halloran explained to him that the puck was already past him when King made contact with him.
"I don't buy it," Lundqvist said. "That's a wrist shot that I'm just going to reach out for and I can't move. It's a different game after that. It's such an important play in the game."
Gaborik tied the game less than six minutes later with his playoff-high 13th goal.
The teams traded chances in the first overtime, but the best opportunities never actually materialized into shots on goal on the stat sheet.
King missed wide right of the net at 15:43 on a one-timer from the slot that was set up by center Mike Richards.
"He stopped it," Kreider said. "Tried to go low-block, probably should've gone high-block. It was a good save by him. You've got to finish there. There's nothing else to say."
The Rangers will likely be thinking about how they couldn't finish off either game during their long cross-country flight home Sunday. Worse yet, after realizing they were outplayed in the third period of Game 1, they thought they played well enough to win Game 2.
They even showed off some of the resiliency that got them to the Cup Final by answering back after each Kings goal in the second period, including Derick Brassard's score 11 seconds later that gave New York a 4-2 lead after Mitchell's power-play goal cut the deficit to one.
"I thought we were playing better, but at the end of the day it's about results," said Rangers forward Martin St. Louis, who scored a power-play goal at 11:24 of the second to make it 3-1. "We could be up 2-0 right now and they're up 2-0. It hurts a little bit right now, but [Sunday] you wake up and you get back to work."
The Kings will fly to New York on Sunday with a 2-0 lead and the feeling that they haven't come close to being at their best yet in this series.
Heck, they haven't even led in the series yet.
"Either way, we're up 2-0," Williams said. "I don't care how we got here."
|Ryan McDonagh (4) ASST: Dominic Moore (5)|
1 - 0 NYR
|Mats Zuccarello (5) ASST: Ryan McDonagh (12), Derick Brassard (5)|
2 - 0 NYR
|Jarret Stoll (3) ASST: Justin Williams (13), Dwight King (7)|
2 - 1 NYR
|PPG - Martin St. Louis (7) ASST: Derek Stepan (9), Chris Kreider (7)|
3 - 1 NYR
|PPG - Willie Mitchell (1) ASST: Slava Voynov (6), Justin Williams (14)|
3 - 2 NYR
|Derick Brassard (6) ASST: Mats Zuccarello (8)|
4 - 2 NYR
|Dwight King (3) ASST: Matt Greene (4), Justin Williams (15)|
4 - 3 NYR
|Marian Gaborik (13) ASST: NONE|
4 - 4 Tie
|1st OT Period|
|2nd OT Period|
|Dustin Brown (5) ASST: Willie Mitchell (3), Anze Kopitar (20)|
5 - 4 LAK
|Marian Gaborik Tripping against Derick Brassard|
|Ryan McDonagh Cross checking against Dustin Brown|
|Matt Greene Tripping against Derek Dorsett|
|Benoit Pouliot Interference on goalkeeper against Jonathan Quick|
|Kyle Clifford Too many men/ice - bench|
|Mats Zuccarello Tripping against Dustin Brown|
|1st OT Period|
|Dominic Moore Hi-sticking against Jeff Carter|
|Justin Williams Interference against Rick Nash|
|Jeff Carter Interference on goalkeeper against Henrik Lundqvist|
|2nd OT Period|