Rangers vs. Kings: Keys to Game 2 of Stanley Cup Final

June 7, 2014 § Leave a comment

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NHL teams have managed to come back from a 2-0 series deficit to win a Stanley Cup only five times in the previous 48 occurrences.

That’s evidence that the New York Rangers badly need a win when they play the Los Angeles Kings tonight in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Game 1 could have gone either way, but the Kings won in overtime after a bad bounce giveaway. What we learned in Game 1 is that the Kings will find goalie Henrik Lundqvist just as challenging to beat as Eastern Conference teams did.

Should the Rangers lose, the one statistical note of optimism is that the Boston Bruins erased a 2-0 deficit to win the 2011 Stanley Cup.

Here is a game plan for each team going into Game 2:

What the Rangers need to do

1. Utilize their speed to generate some turnover-creating hits on the forecheck. Make some stretch passes to the speedy Carl Hagelin or Chris Kreider.

2. Bring their “A” game. Those are coach Alain Vigneault’s words, not ours. He says the Rangers can’t beat the Kings with their “‘B” game. Who are we to argue? That means they have to play 60 strong minutes, not 40.

3. Get memorable performances from top-paid players Brad Richards, Rick Nash, etc. The Rangers can’t afford any passengers on this cruise to the top.

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What the Kings need to do

1. Get a tracking device on Hagelin. They have to keep tabs on him. He was very dangerous in Game 1.

2. Have a strong start. The Kings were sluggish at the start of Game 1. They need to come out of the gates like California Chrome at Belmont.

3. Keep the porch clean. They have to keep the traffic away from goalie Jonathan Quick and force the Rangers to stay to the outside with their shots. Quick is going to stop what he sees.

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