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Kings know they got away with one

Jun 5, 2014, 12:32 AM EDT

2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — You didn’t have to tell the Los Angeles Kings they started the Stanley Cup Final badly. They knew it. And they don’t plan to do it again.

“Obviously not the way we drew it up,” said forward Mike Richards, talking about the 2-0 deficit his team fell into early versus the New York Rangers, despite ultimately fighting back to earn a 3-2 overtime victory.

“Didn’t have our ‘A’ game today, but we battled. We got a couple of bounces and ended up getting the win. We know we have to be better. … We probably got a little lucky tonight.”

Falling behind and battling back has become a theme for the Kings in these playoffs, and all sorts of theories were floating around trying to explain their sloppy start to Game 1 of the Cup final, which came on home ice in front of a supportive Staples Center crowd.

Were they still thinking about the Chicago Blackhawks? Did they underestimate the underdog Rangers? Maybe they just enjoy playing with fire?

“The game of hockey, you’re not going to have your legs every single night,” shrugged Richards. “Just chalk it up to one of those days I guess.”

But coach Darryl Sutter had another theory.

“I think [the Rangers] had a lot of energy and were fresh,” he said. “If you look at their playoffs in the first periods, they’ve had really good first periods every game. You look at it, not I think, I know, that we were not on full tanks.”

And Sutter was none too pleased with all the chances his team gave up, including the breakaway that his best defenseman, Drew Doughty, served up in the first period to New York’s Benoit Pouliot, who promptly opened the scoring.

“You don’t want to trade chances with the New York Rangers,” said Sutter. “I said it yesterday and I’ve said it every day. If you have to score more than three goals, you’re going to have trouble. If you trade chances, in the end you’re going to have trouble.”

Meanwhile, Sutter’s counterpart, Alain Vigneault, was left perplexed at how his team could start so well, then fade away and get outshot 20-3 in the third period.

Did Vigneault feel the Rangers let the Kings off the hook?

“I feel when you play against such a good opponent that has all that strength you need to play a full game,” said Vigneault. “For whatever reason tonight, we just weren’t good enough in the third.”

For New York forward Brad Richards, it was a bad news-good news thing. Yes, the loss was disappointing, but “at the same time, we can play with them, too.”

A two-day break before Saturday’s Game 2 gives both teams time to regroup, look at some video, and figure out what needs to be fixed.

“It’s a great result of the hockey game for us, definitely,” said overtime hero Justin Williams. “But we have a lot of things to clean up. Certainly not our best game by any standards. Especially ours.”

  1. gbatap - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:48 AM

    The Kings got away with one? The Rangers shot themselves in the foot? I think we were watching a different game.

    The Kings looked pretty flat in the first period but the last I checked the game is three periods long. When they woke up in the second they dominated the rest of the game and it had more to do with what the Kings were doing rather then what the Rangers weren’t doing.

    Richards can come away thinking they can play with the Kings but really they were outclassed badly and bailed out by their goalie. This game could have been very ugly.

    • nightfireop - Jun 5, 2014 at 1:05 AM

      lundqvist was a titan; the kings got their work cut out for them…and it’s gonna be a biiiiiig work.

      • bigpappi - Jun 5, 2014 at 6:25 AM

        I guess Quick was chopped just chopped liver. Plus 3 shots in third , sounds like Rangers have their work cut out for them.

      • avscup - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:20 AM

        Titans don’t cough up 3 straight and lose a two goal lead! Hank is very good but will he be good enough…not last night!

    • buckhome - Jun 5, 2014 at 1:40 PM

      gotta disagree. Shots in 3rd were 20-3 but how many of those 20 shots were actually challenging to Lundqvist? They may have been a challenge for Crawford but Lundqvist tracks the puck better than anyone. The 3rd was certainly territorially way in favor of the Kings, but still never thought it wasn’t headed to OT.

      Bailed out by their goalie? – you could certainly say the same for the Kings and Quick.

      • bigpappi - Jun 5, 2014 at 2:04 PM

        Well there were two shots that he was clearly beaten and the only reason they didn’t go in was
        Because Tofoli missed the puck and Haglin race back and stop it from going in, but both times he was beaten. Quick on the other hand stop multiple odd man rushes and one of the goals against was off the skate of a defender. So I would say by far Quick was the better goalie.,

  2. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:49 AM

    Is there a lot of ‘A’ game going around nine months into the season?

  3. bornahawker - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:50 AM

    Kings in 6

  4. itwasafumble - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:51 AM

    I’m happy to have the win. 1 down, 3 more to go.

  5. aldog83 - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:59 AM

    CHAMPIONS win the games they are supposed to…..

    Even more Champions win the games they are not supposed to…..

    • fpstratton - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:28 PM

      That’s true, but the outnumbered attacks that New York got was alarming. That’s not Kings hockey… was Kings hockey for 45 years before 2012, but the standards have obviously been lifted.

  6. blomfeld - Jun 5, 2014 at 1:02 AM


    hey Brough, guess we’ll never know eh ? :)

    GO KINGS GO !!! … TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOREVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • joey4id - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:31 AM

      Great hockey teams find ways to win though they haven’t played a perfect game. DD had an horrendous first period, but battled hard to work through a bad start to finish strong. Go Kings! They are on their way to win their 2nd straight SC following a full season.

  7. charlieconway96 - Jun 5, 2014 at 3:18 AM

    Got our asses kicked the first two periods. Thank god they woke up!

    • fpstratton - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:24 PM

      It’s not too surprising, though. Even though the Kings talked the talk about having moved on from the dramatic Chicago 7-game series, a slight hangover was to be expected. The Rangers are a very good hockey team and play well on the road. Their speed is extremely deceptive, and they won a lot of neutral zone battles last night. I think the Kings are a well-grounded group, though, and realize they will need to step up their game, especially when they go to MSG. Kings in six!

  8. cybernetikghost - Jun 5, 2014 at 4:04 PM

    If you can not play at your best and still win, it’s a good day. I honestly hope that the Rangers were at their absolute best last night though, because if they can turn it up to 11 then the Kings are going to have no legs past game 3.

  9. whatiswrongwithu - Jun 6, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    Kings in 5. The Rangers are in trouble. I see Lund winning one for them in New York. Overall they Scored one goal. The second goal was kicked in by the D. The only thing the Rangers have is the quick breaks stop that they have no chance!! GKG

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