The LA Kings are on the verge of another Stanley Cup victory. Image courtesy of: deadspin.com
Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers
Saturday June 14 – 10:05 AM (AEST)
The New York Rangers came out on Thursday with a purpose. They weren’t going to go down in a whitewash. Heading into the game, the Rangers were 0-3 in the series. Losing the Stanley Cup Finals is horrible in itself, but to lose in a whitewash is the worst situation possible. The Los Angeles Kings had all the momentum and they knew the Rangers weren’t going to go down without a fight. They just didn’t have enough in the tank the overcome their speed and agility.
The Rangers need to play like they did on Thursday for the rest of the series. They were so clinical in attack and defence. Thirty hours before the Rangers went onto the ice, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist publically challenged, not only himself, but the rest of the roster to step up another level. They were sticking to the game plan, but the execution was a little off. The challenge worked, with the Rangers avoiding a clean sweep with a 2-1 victory at home. Lundqvist was superb, saving over 40 goals and finished the night with a save percentage of 98%. Veteran Martin St. Louis was inspirational in attack, with three shots on goal and nailing one in the back of the net. Coach Alain Vegneault should show the Rangers footage of how they played in Game 4 and tell them to just repeat the effort.
The Kings did everything right, they just couldn’t capitalize on their chances. Controlling possession for most of the game, they only managed to put one goal on the scoreboard. Winning the face-offs 41-24 wasn’t even enough to put the Kings on the front foot. Centre Anze Kopitar knows what needs to done to reclaim the Cup. After the game, Kopitar was critical of the Kings' attack at times, claiming they need to put Lundqvist under a lot more pressure. Coach Darryl Sutter needs to go over the tapes and find a way through the veteran’s glove. It’s one thing to control the puck, but if you can’t grab those chances then everything else is useless.
The Kings can still send the Rangers home early, but they need to make every moment count. They have the advantage of being at home, so could well be holding up the Cup at the end of this one.
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