Stanley's Cup at the ready

I turned on last night's Kings/Rangers game during the first intermission, with the Kings leading (their first in-game lead of the series) 1-0.  It seems I didn't miss a lot, though, as that one goal was scored with less than a second left in the period.

When play resumed, it took LA only about four minutes to double that lead on the power play.  Muzzin's shot from the point was deflected by St Louis (with perhaps a distraction addition from Carter playing screen between St Louis and Lundqvist), and slipped through Hank.

The next several minutes (maybe five) saw LA continue its domination of possession, but it was massively favoring New York after that (Fenwick 33-9).  Part of that was the Rangers power play getting a number of chances, but the Kings did not wilt under the heavy pressure.  In fact, they got the only remaining goal of the game thirteen minutes later one a two-on-one.

Richards and Lewis broke in, Richards carrying.  He attempted to pass across, but the defender blocked the pass.  Right back to him.  He showed good reflexes, and obviously knew what to do with it as he put it past the King.

The real story of the rest of the game, though, was Quick, who was absolutely unbelievable.  Seriously, he made several saves that I don't think I'd believe if I didn't see them.

Coming into the game, I saw a tweet that he was on pace to post the worst postseason sv% of a Stanley Cup-winning goalie since at least 1990.  I remarked to a friend that he was going to set that "record" unless he did something dramatic, and I mentioned either losing the series or not giving up another goal as possibilities.  Apparently he chose the latter.

I'd like to say that the Rangers pulling Lundqvist with four minutes left also had something to do with the massive Fenwick imbalance, but it really didn't.  In fact, the Kings might not have allowed a shot on goal during that entire stretch.  It was an impressive performance.  They even managed to have possession in the offensive zone twice, but both times were in the corner.  They did put one shot off the post, but I don't think they have any shots on net during that stretch either.

All in all, a pretty impressive performance for the Kings.  Lots of luck (there were several puck scrambles around the net that left me incredulous that they included no scores), but they also did a lot to make their own luck.  In 5v5 close play, they dominated Fenwick 60-40, and made a lot of effort to get deflections and close-in shots on Lundqvist.  And, as mentioned, Quick was incredible (ask Zuccarello, who had several chances within a couple of feet of the net).

The Rangers are obviously in deep doo-doo, and I think their only real hope, at this point, is to prevent victory at the Gardens.  I don't know if they can (especially if LA doesn't let up on the gas), but that's what they'll be playing for tomorrow.

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