Home is where the heart is, and for the Rangers, hopefully, their first victory in the Stanley Cup Final.
With Game 3 coming up at The Garden on Monday night, one wonders whether these teams can settle a playoff contest in regulation time.
On Saturday night Los Angeles annexed a most controversial 5-4 triumph on Dustin Brown's goal at 10:26 of the second sudden death.
However, the officiating has Ranger fans shaking their heads in disbelief.
The Blueshirts have to wonder if they'll ever get a break from the officials. On one Kings goal there clearly was interference on Henrik Lundqvist.
And on the play immediately preceding Brown's double overtime winner, the Kings should have been penalized for delay of game on a clearing attempt that sailed over the glass. Remarkably, the linesman failed to call the infraction.
Lundqvist was helpless to stop Brown's deflection of a Wille Mitchell shot from the point that sent Staples Center fans into shouts of hysterical joy.
Disheartened and down two games to none, the Rangers can take heart in the fact that they not only played Los Angeles even for most of the game but had the better chances--hit goal post and missed breakaway-- in the extra sessions.
That said, coach Alain Vigneault must go back to the drawing board and figure out a way for his team to maintain a lead earnestly obtained.
For a time early in the third the Blueshirts seemed to be in complete command.
Then it happened. The game-changer developed as Lundqvist was clearly bowled over as the Kings scored. While Lundqvist protested, the official refused to call goaltender interference and that spurred the home club into another rousing comeback.
With the Ranger left on the ropes in the third, Lundqvist bailed them out, sending the match into its first extra session.
The Rangers got their second wind and almost sealed the deal when Chris Kreider appeared to have beaten Jonathan Quick, but hit the post.
Kreider's second chance for heroics went for nought when he shot wide on a breakaway.
Prior to the game Alain Vigneault promised that his team would “try and put its best game on the ice”.
Too bad the officials didn't!
IMPORTANT MOMENTS FROM THE OPENING FACEOFF TO THE END
Maven's Highlights and Lowlights:
- Nash has excellent shooting position on the first shot, and Quick with the big save. Could be an early game saver.
- Rangers weak clearing zone along left boards.
- Good hip check by McDonagh, Carter hurt.
- Closest Kings scoring attempt following bad Lundqvist clear.
- Kings laying on the body.
- Lundqvist first big save on Richards, and another on Kopitar in front.
- Girardi bad clearing attempt.
- Justin Williams misses breakaway attempt because of snow on the ice.
- Ice looks slow and slushy.
- Ranger Power Play.
- Bad start to PP, Kopitar clear.
- Wasted minute on the PP.
- Rangers close with 15 seconds left on PP.
- Ranger goal off turnover.
- Moore starts play, slapshot from left point.
- McDonagh (4) (D. Moore) 10:48
- Nash working hard on offense.
- Ranger penalty McDonagh, bad penalty on hit on Brown.
- Kopitar almost broken up in front.
- Good PK by the Rangers, one Kings shot on goal.
- Big glove save by Lundqvist on Martinez.
- Dreaded two goal lead.
- Zuccarello (5) (McDonagh, Brassard) 18:46
- Toffoli missed chance immediately following Rangers goal.
END OF 1st COMMENT
McDonagh, Lundqvist and Zuccarello were all stars.
- The Issue: Can the Rangers maintain or increase the lead?
- Terrible clearing attempt leads to Kings goal (Brad Richards).
- Lazy pass up middle when almost out of defensive zone.
- Lundqvist knocked out of position.
- Stoll (3) (Williams, King) 1:14
- Rangers get PP following goal, Greene penalty for tripping.
- Lack of chances on PP.
- Boyle playing strong.
- Pouliot called for goaltender interference.
- Good first clear on PK for the Rangers.
- Huge glove save by Lundqvist on Voynov on PK.
- Rangers losing faceoff again and again.
- Bad bench minor for the Kings (Too many men).
- Vigneault quotes before PP: “They have a real strong penalty.” “It’s our turn to get some momentum.”
- Bad play by St. Louis.
- St. Louis makes up for it on great shot for a PP goal.
- St. Louis (7) (Stephan, Kreider) 11:24 PP
- Kings go to the PP off Zuccarello penalty.
- D. Moore with good chance short handed.
- Kings struggling on PP.
- PP goal with 5 seconds left on opportunity.
- Mitchell (1) (Voynov, Williams) 14:39 PP
- Rangers respond 11 seconds after Kings goal.
- Brassard (6) (Zuccarello) 14:50
- Boyle is still very effective in this game.
2nd PERIOD SUMMARY
Back and forth action, but in the end the Rangers were able to maintain their two goal lead going into the 3rd Period.
- Theme: Can the Blueshirts hold the lead?
- Doughty unnoticed so far, will he rally the Kings?
- McDonagh once again doing everything right.
- Holding past the Kings.
- Kings score early (1:58).
- Was it interference? Appears so!
- King (3) (Green, Williams) 1:58
- Stephan whiffed on opportunity in front.
- Dan O’Halloran is official who missed interference call.
- Vigneault and Lundqvist went to O’Halloran to argue later in period.
- Rangers shooting to center and hoping puck moved down ice.
- Girardi with another terrible clear attempt leads to Gaborik goal.
- Gaborik (13) (Unassisted) 7:36
- Huge pad save by Quick on Nash after goal.
- Doughty with dangerous thrust down left side.
- Kings taking over continuous offensive pressure.
- Girardi issues continue.
- Kings overwhelm, Rangers no offense.
3rd PERIOD SUMMARY
Rangers hanging by their nails. Is there anything left in the tank?
- Theme: Can the Rangers reverse the Kings tsunami?
- Lundqvist keeps team in game with big save early.
- Fourth line with a great shift. Pinned Kings deep in their own zone.
- Kreider with post shot. Near game winner.
- Big PP chance for the Kings.
- D. Moore high sticking.
- Lundqvist denying rebound opportunities.
- 4-on-4 due to interference on Williams.
- 4-on-4 killed, Rangers PP.
- Good clears by the Kings on the PK.
- Rangers ice the puck on the PP.
- Kings killed off the penalty.
- Jeff Carter called for goaltender interference, Lundqvist injured.
- Lundqvist stayed in the game.
- Kings get 2 on 1 chance while shorthanded.
- King missed great SH chance for the Kings.
- Kreider with missed breakaway.
Many chances leave both teams empty-handed. Who can find the energy first?
- Kings able to spend plenty of time in their offensive zone early.
- Great save by Quick as he was being knocked out of position.
- Girardi is starting to come through in a positive light.
- A lot of icings in the second overtime.
- King with a failed wrap around chance on Lundqvist.
- Big no call on delay of game (illegal clear over glass).
- Tip in goal wins it for LA.
- Brown (5) (Mitchell, Kopitar) 10:26
MAVEN'S FUN FACT
Is this coincidence or staggeringly irrelevant karma? After Arsenio Hall’s talk show was canceled in May 1994 the Rangers went on their magical run to the cup. Arsenio’s current talk show was canceled on May 30th.