Saturday, June 14, 2014

Guts but No Glory, Rangers Denied as Kings Win Cup

KINGS 3
RANGERS 2
Double-OT
Kings Win Series 4-1

The Rangers gave everything they had on Friday night in Los Angeles. They left their hearts and souls on the ice as they tried with all their might to force a Game 6 back in New York City, a Game 6 that will never take place after the Kings' Alec Martinez skipped the puck past Henrik Lundqvist 14:43 into the second overtime, sending LA to their second Stanley Cup title in three years.

It wasn't like the Rangers didn't try.

From shots that hit the posts, to shots that bounced off the gloves of Jonathan Quick, and shots that almost went in, only to spin out, the Rangers had their chances. Game 5 will forever be remembered as the battle between two of the games best goaltenders in Quick and Lundqvist, both of whom wouldn't give up an inch.

After struggling for much of the series, Lundqvist probably outplayed Quick on this night. He defended 51 shots on goal over the course of five periods, and only gave up three. He was spectacular. The Kings couldn't figure him out, and its unfortunate that the Ranger offense couldn't find net to make the effort stand up. While he came up on the short end, Lundqvist showed everyone why he's the best in the game right now.

However the Rangers were just snake bit all series long by bad luck. Like in Games 1 and 2, the Rangers had a lead only to lose both it and the game in overtime. Three times in this series, the Rangers had the game in overtime; three times they lost. While the final stats say the Kings won this series in five games, it was five of the most brutal, drag em out hockey games played in these playoffs. One could argue a shot here and there, and it would be the Rangers not the Kings hoisting the cup.

Trailing 1-0, the Rangers stormed back late in the second period with goals by Chris Kreider and Brian Boyle to take a 2-1 advantage after two periods. The Rangers held onto that lead midway through the third period when the ex-Ranger Marion Gabroik scored the tying goal on a power play.

From that point on the game became a battle of the wills between both goaltenders. Both the Rangers and Kings were making one desperate charge on goal after another and neither Lundqvist nor Quick blinked, like two old cowboys in a draw.

While dropping the series stings, it is a series that the Rangers cannot be ashamed of. They gave everything they had against a red hot Kings team that had won three Game 7s this postseason. Many thought the Rangers would get blown out, they never did.

Until next year Rangers, thank you for a great season.

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