Relentless Kings Ready to Rock the Garden
There's game video galore in the two Stanley Cup matches played so far.
But here's a clip that best captures the proceedings between the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers. It's not tough to recognize who's who:
The Rangers have speed, but so far, no finish. The Kings just set the timer at 60 minutes -- or in the case of Game 2, they keep hitting the extension button -- and get from here to there.
The tenacity of Coach Darryl Sutter's system and the Kings' experience at implementing the offensive creativity it allows is not only overcoming New York, it's also overcoming itself. This series has been played at the wide-open pace the Rangers need in order to succeed, which has generated a steady stream of turnovers -- from both teams -- as a by-product. To date, Los Angeles has been able to snap the simplicity of its defensive system back into place more efficiently than the Blueshirts, and the 2-0 series advantage shows it.
Still, Game 2 turned on a controversial call that may ultimately loom as the telling factor if the Kings raise the Cup. How this play was not goalie interference could well become a question for the ages:
Lundqvist didn't mince words but managed to do so with his customary Swedish reserve:
|It’s extremely frustrating for them to get life like that. After that, it’s a different game. I don’t expect a penalty on the play but they need to blow the whistle. A goalie can’t move when you have a guy like that on top of you. It’s such an important play of that game.|
Still, champions must overcome these things, and while the Kings have made a name for themselves as road warriors this spring, the Rangers can't wait to return to the Garden and their own home-ice advantage. Their fans are making their presence known in their own New York way.
The Kings have been masters of the comeback, but Blueshirt faithful saw their team rally from a 3-1 deficit against the Penguins. The Rangers still have their speed, and they still have their own King, who's been holding down the fort in their end with very little help.
They're expecting a change in venue to produce a change in fortune. Frankly, it could be down to whomever cleans up their game first.
Under Sutter, the Kings won't be leaving that to chance. The next move belongs to the Rangers.