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Sports

Lots of hockey. Lots of golf. Other sports too. 

Final, Game 2: Ditto

Minivan Dad

These are getting easier. 

The Kings defeated the Rangers in double overtime in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, 5-4. At this rate, the Kings may very well sweep the Rangers but have played 7 games of hockey. 

Tonight the Rangers had not only one 2-goal lead, but three. they led 2-0, 3-1, and 4-2. It didn't matter. 

Tonight's standard of play alteration benefit to the Kings came in the third period, when Dwight King established position within the Rangers crease after drawing contact from Ranger defenseman Ryan McDonagh. King then initiated and continued contact with Henrik Lundqvist, and prevented the Rangers goalie from moving to his right against the coming shot of Matt Greene. King was actually credited with the goal on a tip at the time I'm writing. Once King established position within the crease, this is goalie interference if there is any contact. The Tampa Bay Lightning had a crucial goal disallowed in round one against the Canadiens for much less obvious interference. This goal never should have been allowed. Not to say the Kings wouldn't have come back anyway, but this was an obvious gift that made it much easier. (Aside - it is ridiculous that this play is not reviewable by replay. It is abundantly clear that Dwight King intended to establish position within the Ranger crease and impede Henrik Lundqvist.)

The Kings soon tied the game at 4, but the inevitable had to wait until halfway through the 2nd overtime in this one. 

Game 2's Jonathan Quick challenge moment belonged to Rangers' forward Chris Kreider, who nicked the post behind Quick's blocker side on a breakaway just before the end of the first overtime period (Correction- Quick actually got his blocker on this one for the save). Honorable mention to Mats Zuccarello, who had a brilliant wraparound play in overtime as well but missed the net high over Quick's low left shoulder; and to Rangers' defenseman Anton Stralman, whose shot from the left faceoff circle off a cross ice pass was saved by Quick in one of his remarkable left-to-right drives including a final launch of his right shoulder into the shooting lane. Had Stralman been able to one-time the puck, he may have beaten Quick. Once he settled the puck to shoot, he had no chance. That is what Quick does. 

The Kings' winning goal in overtime was another classic. As the Kings cycled the puck to Lundqvist's right, along the center high slot, and ultimately to the top of the defensive right faceoff circle, two Kings circled the shooting lanes throughout the play. Ultimately Dustin Brown redirected a shot from Willie Mitchell under Lundqvist's outstretched left arm. Why was this a classic? Because it's what the Kings do. They had two players in front of the Ranger net, and although Brown was covered by a defenseman, his stick was untouched as he deftly deflected the puck into the net. Had this occurred in the Kings end, those players would have likely been face down on ice. Certainly their sticks would have been tied up. But they weren't.

Once again, the Rangers had a chance to win this game. Once again, they didn't by the slimmest of margins, and they head back to Madison Square Garden down 2 games to none. It's not the end of the world to lose two overtime games on the road. Against the Kings, it just seems like it.

I'm thinking of writing my game 3 report now and just filling in the names on Monday night.