Rangers come out carrying the tempo for most of the opening period; exactly what they needed to do. Far more urgency than they showed in the opening game. If you pressure the opposition enough, it is bound to result in your opponent making plays they do not want to make. Case in point, Justin Williams’ turnover that leads to the McDonagh goal at 10:48. Williams is being pressured above and below when he coughs it up. 1-0 New York.
Lundqvist is seeing chances that are far more difficult than those faced by Quick at the other end. He’s a difference maker in the early going.
Matt Greene’s turnover at the Ranger blueline ultimately leads to the Zuccarello goal. Rangers are in the driver’s seat 2-0; they’ve dictated the pace and held territorial advantage for the majority of the first period. At the end of one, you can’t help but feel “surely to goodness this is the one time that LA spots the opposition two and they don’t come back.”
A key point here, by contrast to Game 1, is that New York did not allow the Kings life late in the period. Remember Clifford’s goal at 17:33 of the first period in Game 1. That was the Kings’ foothold.
There’s a lot to like in the Kings’ Justin Williams. His resilience for example. In the opening period, he’s responsible for the turnover that results in the Rangers’ first goal. On a similar play but this time in the offensive end, Williams is again under pressure. However, he makes a perfect play this time. Rather than force the puck, off balance, to a protected Rangers’ net he throws it back into the high slot and finds Stoll who squibs it past Lundqvist and Klein. Now it’s 2-1 Rangers.
From an LA point of view, you hate that you weren’t able to reverse momentum anytime in the first period. It’s fair consolation though that you get on the board and cut the Ranger lead in half less than two minutes into the second period.
Half way through regulation and the Rangers are going hit for hit with the Kings. Are they leading for this reason? I suggest that’s part of it; see last blog.
Mitchell draws LA to within a goal. 3-2 Rangers. But on the very next play he fails to clear it behind the net off the ensuing draw and Zuccarello feeds Brassard. A momentum swing like this should put the Rangers in a spot where they can close this game out if they manage it well.
The no goalie interference call on LA’s third goal is defensible. McDonagh closes on Clifford hard as the Kings forward works his way back to the net front. What’s more important than the goal itself though is the response of both teams. LA finds life and New York sags; Gaborik scores as a result. It’s now a 4-4 game.
A reminder. LA started this period down 4-2 against a team that is 10-0 this season when leading after two. It’s baffling to me how the Kings can make a two-goal turnaround look so routine.
I fell asleep. That’s neither a random thought nor an observation. That’s just a fact.
I’m wide awake as Dustin Brown wins it for LA with a deft little redirect from the low slot. Unreal. New York may ultimately win a game as the Series heads back east but will it matter? After the way things have gone through Games 1 and 2, can you see LA failing to win out?
See you around the rink.