2014 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFSNEW YORK RANGERS
at LOS ANGELES KINGS
Stanley Cup Finals
Game 2 - Los Angeles leads series 1-0
Puck Drops: Saturday, 7:05 p.m. ET
Line: Los Angeles -150, New York +130, Total: 5
The Kings look to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals as they host the Rangers on Saturday night.
Game 1 could not have started out any better for New York, as it took an early 2-0 lead in the first period, which included a short-handed goal. However, the defense let the team down as the Los Angeles outshot its opponent 43-27 for the game, constantly attacking Henrik Lundqvist (40 saves on 43 shots, .930 Sv Pct.) in the 3-2 overtime victory. Even though they did not score in the third period, the Kings outshot the Rangers 20-3, wearing the Rangers down before going to the overtime period where Justin Williams scored the winning goal after a horrible giveaway by D Dan Girardi. In the first period, the Rangers were able to get some easy scoring opportunities because they used their speed to get several breakaways. Jonathan Quick (25 saves on 27 shots, .926 Sv Pct.) did not face the pressure that Lundqvist did throughout the game, but he made some big stops early to keep the Kings within striking distance. The defense of the Kings really started to show off its strength, as the team outhit the Rangers, 45-33, and established the mentality with a 6-1 takeaway advantage. If the Rangers can get out in the open ice and use their speed, they have a great chance of stealing Game 2. However, the defense will have to play much better and not allow the Kings to get so many shots at the net.
Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist (12-8, 2.07 GAA, .928 SV Pct in playoffs) was brilliant on Wednesday, having to face pressure at the net the entire game. LWs Beniot Pouliot and Carl Hagelin were able to use their speed early in the game, surprising the Kings with the ability get behind the defense for breakaway goals. Hagelin was actually stopped, but the rebound deflected off Kings D Slava Voynov's skate and into his own net. The two scorers along with LW Rick Nash and RW Martin St. Louis must use this speed to put pressure on the Kings, not only to get some goals of their own, but also to keep L.A. in its own end more. However, the Kings won this game because of their physicality late, as they just continued to attack the Rangers. Before his overtime gaffe, Dan Girardi led the way for the Rangers with seven hits, and they will need more of that aggressiveness if they are going to defeat Los Angeles. With Jonathan Quick as the goaltender, the Kings are taking more chances to get easy scoring opportunities because they have such trust that Quick will make all the stops behind them. If the Rangers can play more physical defense and use their speed on offense, they have a chance. However, that will be tough as the Kings’ players after the game said they know that they have to start out much better from the beginning.
The goals for the Kings were scored by LW Kyle Clifford, D Drew Doughty and RW Justin Williams, who netted the winner in overtime. While it took the team a little while to get rolling, once they did, they just dominated the game in every facet. Every time late in the game when the Rangers thought they had a scoring chance, Quick made a fantastic play at the net. Quick (13-9, 2.81 GAA, .907 SV Pct in playoffs) has not been his normal dominant self in the postseason, but he has shown during his career when he gets to the Stanley Cup Finals, he is going to be on top of his game. C Jeff Carter did not score a goal in the game, but he did have an assist while getting four shots on goal. His constant pressure on the net was a big reason why the Kings were able to outshoot the Rangers 20-3 in the third period. D Willie Mitchell was also outstanding in attacking the net, as he led the team with five shots on goal. Lundqvist is an outstanding goalie, but if the Kings can continue to pepper him like they did on Wednesday, they will be in great position to take the commanding 2-0 lead. Both of these goalies have the ability to take over a game and get a shutout, so attacking the goal as much as possible is going to be a huge factor in this game.