After blowing a two-goal lead in Game 1, the Rangers were determined to change the script Saturday night, and even up the series in Los Angeles.
But lightning struck twice—literally—as Kings erased not one but two multi-goal deficits, before taking Game 2 in double-overtime 5-4.
Again, the Rangers start was not the problem, and New York outshot Los Angeles 10-9 in the first period, and going toe-to-toe with the Kings.
In the middle of that first frame, the Rangers got their forecheck going, and paid off in the form of two goals in the second half of the period. And again, it was New York's bottom six doing the dirty work.
On the first tally, Brian Boyle dumped the puck in deep, and got below the goal line to deliver a check. With Los Angeles trying to clear the zone, Dominic Moore intercepted a pass up the boards, before handing it back to Ryan McDonagh. With a bit of ice in front of him, McDonagh walked into a slapshot that ticked off Jarret Stoll and past Jonathan Quick for a 1-0 Blueshirts edge.
While it looked like the teams would go into the intermission with a 1-0 score, the Rangers again manufactured a goal below the icing line. Derick Brassard controlled the puck behind the net, before feeding to a cutting McDonagh. His one-timer went just wide of the post, but Mats Zuccarello got inside position on Anze Kopitar, corralled the shot attempt, and stuffed it past Quick for a 1-0 Rangers lead with only 1:14 remaining in the first.
The Kings halved the Rangers lead only 1:46 into the middle frame off yet another Rangers defensive zone turnover. This time, Brad Richards was the guilty party, weakly throwing the puck into center ice at the point that Los Angeles stole back. Just Williams got the puck down low, and drew out Henrik Lundqvist before shoveling it back to Stoll, who's shot ticked off Lundqvist and past the makeshift goalie Kevin Klein to draw the Kings within 2-1.
New York would restore its two-goal lead nearly 10 minutes later as its power play got off the snide. Right after the Kings cleared the puck the distance of the ice, Lundqvist fed it up to McDonagh. In one motion, he whipped it up to Chris Kreider, who touched it along to Derek Stepan breaking into the zone. With the Rangers on a 2-on-1, Stepan fed it over to St. Louis, who labeled a one-timer top shelf and over a sprawling Quick to make it 3-1 Rangers.
The second period scoring onslaught would continue, as Zuccarello took a penalty on the tail end of a strong shift. On the ensuing Los Angeles power play, Willie Mitchell's point shot eluded a screened Lundqvist to again cut the Kings deficit in half.
Only 11 seconds later though, the Rangers boosted the edge back to two. A Brassard faceoff win at center ice allowed the Rangers to get the puck deep. A miscommunication between Quick and Willie Mitchell allowed Zuccarello to swoop in, and feed it to Brassard in front who made it a 4-2 game with the net empty.
For the second time that game—and for the second time in as many games—the Rangers had a two goal lead. But as has been the case for the Rangers, and Los Angeles, the Kings erased the multi-goal deficit.
It began with a third period goal that never should have been. A Matt Greene point shot deflected off Dwight King in front, who was simultaneously interfering with Lundqvist. There was no call on the play, and the score stood at 4-3 only 1:58 into the period.
The Blueshirts inability to clear the zone again led to a crucial Kings goal nearly six minutes later. McDonagh tried to play the puck between his own legs down low, and then a few whacks from Girardi, McDonagh, and Kreider saw the puck land on the stick of Marian Gaborik, who flipped it past Lundqvist to make it 4-4.
For the second straight game, the teams would go to overtime, but a single extra session wasn't enough, as 11 total shots, and a Kreider post yielded no goals.
The game would be decided in the second overtime, as it took the teams over a half an hour of extra hockey to find a winner. Anze Kopitar worked the puck along the wall and got it to Mitchell at the point. He fired a shot in that Dustin Brown deflected past Lundqvist, sealing Game 2 for the Kings 5-4.
Game 3 will be played Monday night in New York, with the Rangers hoping to cut into the Kings 2-0 series lead.