Conventional wisdom would dictate that it would be the team that has led in 50:03 minutes of Stanley Cup Final play would have a 2-0 series lead, as opposed to the team that has led for none.
Conventional wisdom has flown out the window in this series. In an agonizing case of deja vu, the New York Rangers were once again unable to capitalize on mistakes the Los Angeles Kings made, and unable to hold a 2-goal lead, falling 5-4 in double overtime.
The Blueshirts weren’t the only ones who made mistakes in this game. Just under two minutes into the third, a controversial non-call of goaltender interference by referee Dan O’Halloran led to an allowed goal by Dwight King that brought the Kings within one:
Rubbing salt in the wound was Benoit Pouliot getting called for goaltender interference on a similar play in the second period. There’s no way to know if the final outcome of the game would have been different had the goal been disallowed and perhaps a 2-minute penalty had been called on King. We won’t know until the series is over whether or not that will be the play that made a difference. The inconsistency in what constitutes interference from game-to-game and from period-to-period is utterly maddening, for fans and players alike.
“They’ve got to be consistent with that rule,” Lundqvist said in the dressing room afterwards. “They score a goal and I can’t even move. it’s extremely frustrating for them to get life like that and 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 and it’s such an important play of the game and I don’t buy the explanation [that the puck was past him when the interference occurred] but we have to move on.”
The raw numbers from the game show again that the Rangers have been keeping pace with the Kings. In game 2 they were virtually even in faceoff wins and hits – two areas where it was expected the Kings’ centers and their size, respectively, would give them an edge. They were even in blocked shots. The Kings had more than twice as many giveaways (33) than the Rangers (15) did. They’ve just not been able to find that killer instinct to seal the deal.
“I think we’ve played close to nine periods now,” Alain Vigneault said postgame. “For the most part I’ve liked a lot of things about our game. Our guys are trying real hard. We’re going to continue to try. I mean, both games we had opportunities. We didn’t get it done. We’re going home in front of our great fans. We’re going to be ready for the next game.”
About the Author: Likes: Hockey, the New York Rangers, King Henrik, singing the Rangers goal song, "The Save", the sound skates make against ice, heckling Marty Brodeur. Dislikes: 3-point games, front-office mismanagement, Denis Potvin, overpriced arena beer. Interested? Follow me on Twitter: @CC_927