Rangers Face an Early Cup Crisis
A number of hockey experts are saying the New York Rangers had their shot Wednesday night to have a chance to steal the Stanley Cup from the Los Angeles Kings by gaining home ice with a road win.
But the Blueshirts blew a 2-0 lead and lost in overtime, 3-2.
Justin Williams wristed a shot past Ranger goalie Henrik Lundqvist after a careless turnover by defenseman Dan Girardi.
The Rangers came out flying and could have led 3-0 or 4-0, but the Kings -- who came back from a 2-0 deficit against Chicago in Game 7 of the Western finals -- came back again to defeat the Rangers in a game that New York could have won.
t As the series moves to Game 2 tonight at Staples Center, the Blueshirts must now find a way to play a full 60 minutes of disciplined hockey. That was missing in the opener. With the score tied 2-2 after two periods, the Kings dominated the third period, outshooting the Rangers, 20-3.
They would have won the game in regulation if not for Lundqvist, who was sensational.
New York's speed dominated the early parts of the game, as goals by Benoit Pouliot and Carl Hagelin put them ahead by two. However, the Kings wore them down after that, especially with their superior center play, and will look to do the same tonight. The extra day's rest since Wednesday will aid their cause after playing 21 games in their first three series.
John Moore should return on defense for the Rangers after a two-game suspension, which will help their backline. New York needs more, though, out of their offensive stars. Rick Nash and Martin St Louis need to put themselves in better position to score goals, as that is what they're paid to do. Brad Richards and Chris Kreider also need to get the puck behind Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick, who's rounding back into his usual shape after a slow start in this year's playoffs.
They say that a playoff series doesn't really start until the road team wins a game. That may be ominous here for Ranger fans, because the Kings are such a great road team. If New York cannot tie the series tonight, all Los Angeles has to do is win one game in New York to have a chance to win the series at home in five.
So it may only be Game 2, but it could be a pivotal one in determining who hoists the hardware in 2014.