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Cullen: Brown's double-OT winner caps Kings' Game 2 rally

Scott Cullen
6/8/2014 1:11:47 AM
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Dustin Brown deflected in a Willie Mitchell slapshot for the game-winning goal in double overtime, as the Los Angeles Kings rallied to defeat the New York Rangers 5-4 in Game Two of the Stanley Cup Final, taking a 2-0 series lead.

The Rangers held 2-0 and 4-2 leads in the game, but couldn't hold off the Kings, who have won three straight games in the postseason without holding a lead at any point in those three gaames.

Brown, the double-OT hero, finished the game with the worst possession stats among Kings skaters.

Mitchell, the 37-year-old veteran, logged 34:07 to rank third (behind the top pair of Drew Doughty -- 41:41! -- and Jake Muzzin) among Kings defencemen for time on ice. It was the first time since February 25, 2012 that defensive-minded Mitchell, who scored the Kings' second goal, had a goal and an assist in the same game. (Incidentally, in all that ice time, Doughty had no shots on goal and only one attempt.)

While Mitchell might count as some unexpected production, the Kings are getting used to big performances from RW Justin Williams, who had three assists to give him 23 points in 23 playoff games, tied with Jeff Carter, two points behind Anze Kopitar for the lead in the playoffs. Williams has eight points in his past four games, a stretch during which he's been on for 57.5% of the 5-on-5 shot attempts when he's on the ice.

In a game that had many brilliant and exciting plays, the one that stands out, unfortunately, was the Kings' third goal, scored 1:58 into the third period, when Kings LW Dwight King plowed into Henrik Lundqvist as D Matt Greene's shot from the point deflected off King into the net, cutting the Rangers' lead to 4-3. Considering other goaltender interference calls in the playoffs, and even earlier in this game, it's hard to fathom how King was granted immunity for invading Lundqvist's crease, but it paid off and King had a strong night in general, adding an assist and on for 63% of the 5-on-5 shot attempts when he was on the ice.

Rangers D Ryan McDonagh collided with King at the edge of the crease on that goal, though King was already in the blue paint at that point. McDonagh was front and centre in the action, scoring a goal and an assist for the Rangers, but McDonagh was also on the ice for the last three Kings goals. After the King goal, McDonagh had the puck deep in the Rangers zone, tripped over Derek Stepan and turned it over to Marian Gaborik, leading to the game-tying goal. In overtime, McDonagh was matched up on Brown as he tipped in the game-winning goal.

LW Mats Zuccarello was a threat for the Rangers, launching a game-high 11 shot attempts towards the Kings' net. Only three of those made it on net, but Zuccarello did put up a goal and an assist, giving him 13 points for the playoffs. RW Martin St. Louis scored a nice one-time goal for the Blueshirts, but was dominated in terms of possession, on the ice for nine shot attempts for and 27 against during 5-on-5 play.

The Rangers' line of Chris Kreider, Rick Nash and Derek Stepan was territorially dominant, on for more than 64.0% of the 5-on-5 shot attempts when they were on. Kreider had an assist and had eight shot attempts, but was impressive physically, recording a game-high nine hits. Nash had a game-high eight shots on goal (10 attempts), but couldn't find his way to the scoresheet -- the story of his playoffs, as he has the best puck possession stats of Rangers forwards, yet has three goals and 10 points through 22 playoff games.

The Rangers have every right to be upset about how the Kings' third goal was scored but, in the big picture, can't be entirely discouraged by the way the first two games in Los Angeles turned out. They got bad breaks that cost them in overtime, but the Rangers had enough opportunities in two road games to believe that they can hang with the Kings.

Odds are against the Rangers coming all the way back, but let's see what they have upon returning to Madison Square Garden. If this year's playoffs have revealed anything, it's that leads, both in games and series, are not as safe as they once were.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.




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