2014 Stanley Cup Final: Kings Win Game 2 With Another Epic Comeback

BplB0LeCEAAj02dThe Los Angeles Kings are like a villain in a horror movie. Just when you think they’re dead, they rise up again and hit you even harder.

The New York Rangers have found this out first hand over the first two games of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.

Game 2 needed two overtimes to determine a winner Saturday night at Staples Center, and like so many of their victories this postseason, the Kings erased multiple deficits before scoring the final goal.

“I think the way we play, everyone is talking about how we come back,” Kings captain Dustin Brown, who scored the game-winner, said postgame. “I think it’s more how we turn the tide of the game over the course of the game.

“We’re not worried about scoring the game winning goal. We’re worried about just playing our game, grinding away. It starts with one. That’s what our mentality is. Whether we’re down two, up two, the situation doesn’t change for us.”

Just like in Game 1, New York jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead. It was the third straight game that Los Angeles had fallen behind 2-0 in the opening 20 minutes, but no deficit fazes this group of champions. They kept fighting and became the first team to come back from a two-goal deficit and win in back-to-back Cup Final games. In fact, the Kings still haven’t led for a single second in this series.

Not only did the Kings trail 2-0 in Game 2, they also faced a 4-2 deficit at the start of the third period. Dwight King got the comeback started with a controversial goal just 1:58 into the third period, and six minutes later the game was tied after Marian Gaborik scored his 13th goal of the playoffs.

There are a couple of factors that go into Los Angeles’ remarkable ability to earn come-from-behind victories against quality opponents.

This team has played more than 60 playoff games since the start of the 2011-12 season with most of the same roster. General manager Dean Lombardi has made very few changes to the Cup-winning roster from 2012, and this has resulted in the Kings developing fantastic chemistry at forward and on the blue line. The experience of winning a Cup two years ago also is mightily important because these players know how hard it is to secure 16 wins at this stage of the year.

While the Kings’ ability to come back and win is impressive, their first-period performances are a genuine concern.

“Quite honestly, we’re not happy with how we started these two games at all,” Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell said postgame, per LA Kings Insider.

“It’s the Stanley Cup Final and you know everyone in this room cares so much. We haven’t executed. We haven’t executed well in the first half of the games. It baffles all of us in here. It’s not the place we want to be and to have to climb out of all the time. Sooner or later, it’s going to bite you in the [expletive]. I guess that’s the great part about it, that we find a way to battle back, but we’ve got some work to do again. Give the Rangers credit, but we’ve got to execute much better than we have.”

The most encouraging part of the first two games for the Kings is that they have played nowhere near their best hockey and still have a chance to sweep this series. If L.A. corrects some of its mistakes and plays better in the first period, the Cup Final might not return to Staples Center for a Game 5.

“…We can play better hockey,” Kings center Anze Kopitar said. “We’ve done it before and everybody knows that we’re going to have to do it at MSG because that building is going to be loud. I’m sure they’re going to be very desperate and they’re going to throw everything at us that they have, we’re going to have to match all of the above.”

Photo via Twitter/@DanielJSmithHI

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