The Kings head to Chicago with a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals. (kings.nhl.com)
All New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist could do was sit in disbelief after Dustin Brown’s game-winning goal in the second overtime after 90-plus minutes of heart-stopping action.
The Los Angeles Kings found themselves down 2-0 in Game 1 and Game 2, but it is the Kings who head into Game 3 with the 2-0 series lead for their third-straight game coming back from two goals down to win.
“The way we’ve won, it’s right where we want to be,” Brown says.
Resilient has been the word tossed around to describe this Kings team, but it’s much more than that. This Kings team is a team of destiny.
Game 2 started exactly like Game 1, with the Rangers drawing first and second blood. The difference from Game 1 was, there was a confidence in the skating of the Rangers, a calmness.
“We could take a little solace in the fact that we’ve been there before,” says Kings right wing Justin Williams. “We had no place to go but up.”
Jarret Stoll ruffled the Rangers’ feathers early on in the second period to cut the lead to one. The Rangers would get their two-goal cushion yet again when Martin St. Louis scored his seventh goal of the postseason.
The Kings cut the lead back to one when Willie Mitchell scored a power-play goal, but 11 seconds later, Derick Brassard capitalized on a mistake behind the Kings’ goal to give the Rangers a two-goal cushion for the third time.
Going into the third period down by two, Dwight King scored a controversial goal to cut the deficit back down to one, yet again. King was in the blue area and appeared to keep Lundqvist from being able to save the puck, but after the referees decided to not blow the whistle. The referees told Lundqvist that the puck was already in the net when the contact occurred.
Ex-Ranger Marián Gáborik, who has been an absolute monster this postseason, scored his 13th goal in these playoffs to finally draw the Kings level with the Rangers.
“You have to be able to come back, you’re not going to be ahead every game,” says Kings’ head coach and man of many words, Darryl Sutter. Sutter’s Kings never led in regulation of Game 2.
The first overtime of Game 2 would be 20 minutes of back-and-forth hockey as both offenses forced the opposing team’s goalie to make saves, with Lundqvist and Jonathan Quick showing off their flexibility.
The Kings found themselves in a position they’ve constantly been in this postseason, having to come from behind to force overtime. Looking fatigued and starting to slowly lose control of the game, Dustin Brown deflected a shot just outside the blue area through Lundqvist into the Rangers’ net, sending the Staples Center into a frenzy.
With the loss, the Rangers head back to home ice hoping to finally be able to solve the mystery of being able to close out games against this stingy Kings team. The Rangers skated extremely well in Los Angeles, but are extremely disheartened to go home with nothing to show for it.
The Kings are two wins away from hoisting the Stanley Cup for the second time in three years. After nine periods in Los Angeles, the Kings hope for six periods when they travel to New York.
“Series are about cracking a team,” Brown says. “When you get a crack, it’s about making that crack bigger and bigger each game.”
Game 3 is Monday at 5 p.m.