Rangers Must Stay Positive After Devastating Game 2 Loss
Well, that was about as heartbreaking as it gets. For the second straight game, the New York Rangers blew a 2-0 lead to the LA Kings, who are now just two wins away from their second Stanley Cup in four years. In fact, the Rangers blew THREE 2-goal leads in the game, as they led 2-0, 3-1, and 4-2, and eventually lost 5-4 in double overtime. While it is hard to forget about this game and move on, there are positives that the Rangers must take away from LA and carry with them into game 3.
The Rangers generated a bunch of chances. They scored four goals on Quick and could have had more. If Richards buried his third period chance on the doorstep or if Kreider finished his overtime breakaway, we would be talking about how gutsy the Rangers effort was. Instead, we are left wondering how we lost that game, a game that we had control of for the majority of play.
The Rangers were simply the better team for much of the game. The Kings took advantage of timely Rangers turnovers (again) and some puck luck to beat Lundqvist. Brad Richards had a terrible giveaway in the defensive end that led to the Kings first goal. That is the second straight game that the Rangers were in control of the game at 2-0 and made costly turnovers that gave the Kings life. When looking at the game, the Kings had just two goals that should have happened, their second goal and overtime goal.
The Kings first goal does not happen if Richards does not play a lazy pass across the Rangers zone. Their third goal does not happen if the refs make a clear goaltender interference call, as King prevented Lundqvist from making the save (I could go on and on about this, but it would do no good). The Kings fourth goal was a result of McDonagh trying to be too cute in the d-zone and Kreider’s botched clearing attempt that handed Gaborik a goal. I may be biased, but I just want to show that the Rangers are not far off. Eliminate these mental/physical errors (and a game-changing missed call) and this series would be tied or even 2-0 Rangers.
But the main thing the Rangers must take away from LA is that the Kings are beatable. Both losses were deflating, and the Rangers simply have to put them in the past. Lundqvist will bounce back in game 3 as he has all playoffs and give the Rangers a chance to win. The team has to have a killer instinct and not even give the Kings the opportunity to have fluky goals by being smart, clean, and efficient in the defensive zone. The Rangers should keep doing what they have been doing in the offensive zone (except on the power play, which looks lost). This series is far from over, and a game 3 win can change everything.
As Seth Rothman tweeted, “If you’re giving up on this #Rangers team after what they’ve been through this postseason, you’re just not paying close enough attention.”
Some quotes from after game 2:
– “We played a good game tonight. We had a good third period also. I mean, if you look at the scoring chances in the third, they were 3-2 because their third goal I guess was a chance because it ended up in the back of our net.” – Alain Vigneault
– Vigneault, when asked if he thought Dwight King interfered with Lundqvist on that third goal: “Ask the NHL.”
– Boyle asked about being underdogs in the series: “I don’t give a s*** about underdogs. That’s ridiculous… We’re here to win. Doesn’t matter how we do it.”
– Lundqvist on King goal: “I’m extremely disappointed on that call or non-call. They got to be consistent with that rule.”
– Lundqvist on King goal: “They score a goal and I can’t even move. It’s extremely frustrating for them to get life like that.”
– McDonagh: “We realize what’s at stake. The series isn’t over yet. They have a 2-0 lead but we’re going home. We’re excited.”
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