June 5, 2014

steve laidlaw

2014-06-05

How pumped is league brass for this Stanley Cup Final matchup? I mean, Los Angeles-New York. That's their dream, right? The two biggest US markets. What a win for them.

 

As I mentioned last week I had the Rangers at 20/1 to win the Cup. I hedged that basically as soon as I could. It kind of sucks being off the Rangers bandwagon but I'm happy for the guaranteed profit and to be able to sit back and enjoy the series. I'll be pulling for the Rangers anyway as the Kings have already won a Cup recently.

 

Last night's opener started pretty slowly. Sure there were three first period goals and a bunch of shots but the pace itself was pretty slow. Not until the end of the period did the pace really kick up. The slower pace probably favours the Rangers, which is likely why it looked like they might run away with it early turning a couple of turnovers into a 2-0 lead.

 

The second Rangers goal came shorthanded on a particularly miserable Kings power play. The Rangers significantly out-chanced the Kings on that one, despite being down a man.

 

Fortunately for the Kings, they responded shortly after on a greasy goal by Kyle Clifford, his first of the playoffs. That goal caught me off guard as it really didn't seem like the Kings had much of anything going. I think they were really to escape the first period down just one.

 

It was looking like more of the same in the second period and then Drew Doughty did this.

 

 

The energy in the game jumped exponentially after that bit of magic. We were all winners for that as the back-and-forth second period was truly great. The period ended deadlocked at 2-2 setting up an even more exciting third.

 

The Kings owned much of the third taking a 14-0 advantage in shots over halfway through the frame before finally ceding a shot on goal. Ultimately the Kings won the period 20-3 in terms of shots but the game went to overtime anyway. Henrik Lundqvist played admirably to hold the fort.

 

If not for the Kings' anemic power play the game very well could have ended because of a brutal penalty on Brian Boyle after a Kings player had his stick blow up with Boyle in the general area. The Kings buzzed the net a few times before narrowly allowing another short-handed goal to Carl Hagelin. That shorthanded chance immediately led to a Jeff Carter chance the other way. Mayhem.

 

Overtime featured some mesmerizingly ugly hockey. The puck was bouncing so much it appeared more like a pinball game than hockey. Unsurprisingly a brutal turnover by Dan Girardi after he tripped on a clearing attempt led to the game winner by Justin Williams, who is more than just Mr. Game Seven, thank you very much.

 

And the comeback kids do it again. The Kings probably deserved to win. They did carry the shot battle 43-27 but you can't help but feel that they should feel lucky to have won. The Kings really did dig a hole with their turnovers in the opening period and their brutal power play could use a tune up. Credit the Rangers for stifling the Kings power play, which had been humming along heading into this series.

 

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I know we just watched game one but I enjoyed this Stanley Cup Final preview from Sean McIndoe.

 

McIndoe also runs down 20 years of Canadian futility.

 

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Marc Staal looks to become the third brother to win