RANGERS (12-9) at KINGS (13-9)
4:00PM PT, TV: NBC SPORTS NETWORK; RADIO: AM 1150
ROUND TWO: The Kings will be looking to take a two-game lead in this Stanley Cup Final series with the New York Rangers after two days off following their 3-2 OT win Wednesday night at STAPLES Center. The Kings, who have played to the maximum in all three series’ leading up to this point, will be looking for a win before they head to NYC for Game 3 – where they’ve never won a playoff game.
BEHIND? THAT’S FINE: The Kings have overcome two-goal deficits in each of their previous four games. They’ve won three of them, and have now further established themselves with their Game 1 heroics Wednesday night as a roster that may bend at times, but never breaks. Can the Kings ride the momentum from Justin Williams’ OT goal and pounce on New York early in Game 2?
KILLING TO WIN: Though the Kings allowed a shorthanded goal in Game 1, almost two actually, they kept New York’s power play off the board in each of the Rangers’ three man-advantage opportunities. The Kings’ penalty kill has been perfect in nine of their 22 playoff games; they’re a perfect 9-0 when keeping the opposition’s power play quiet. Can the Kings nix the Rangers’ power play again this afternoon in Game 2?
BIG RIG: Defenseman Robyn Regehr, who has been sidelined since Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Anaheim Ducks, will likely return to the Kings’ lineup Saturday afternoon. Regehr suffered a knee injury on May 3 when attempting a hit on Anaheim’s Devante Smith-Pelly, and has missed the Kings’ 14 games since. Can Regehr, who will likely replace Matt Greene this afternoon, make a solid return to the Kings’ defensive corps?
FROM NYC WITH LOVE: The Kings are pulling more billboard magic, this time in New York City on the corner of 34th and 7th Street in the shadows of Madison Square Garden. Will Ferrel’s in-arena pump-up video, which was created for STAPLES Center use during the 2012 playoffs, is playing on repeat. Can the Kings back up this jab with a win 3,000+ miles away tonight in Los Angeles?
HISTORY: The Kings’ Game 1 win Wednesday night marked just their second ever playoff win against the Rangers; the Kings are now 2-5 all-time against New York City’s club in the postseason. In 1979, the NHL had a preliminary round of three-game series’. The Kings dropped both games against the Rangers in ‘79. The next time the Kings saw the Rangers in the playoffs, in 1981, that preliminary round was pushed to a best-of-five series. The Kings fell in four games.
Not only was Wednesday night’s win the first for the Kings in this Stanley Cup Final series, but it was their first OT playoff win at home since Glen Murray rocketed home a game-winning shot past Colorado’s Patrick Roy in Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals on May 6, 2001.
The Kings are winless in the franchise’s three playoff games against the Rangers in New York City, outscored by a 23-7 margin in those games. They might want to pick up that second win tonight at STAPLES Center.