LOS ANGELES: The Los Angeles Kings moved one step closer to a second Stanley Cup title in three years after mounting a stunning fightback to beat the New York Rangers 5-4 in double overtime and end a wild Game Two yesterday.
With the Kings trailing 2-0 and 4-2 before tying things up, captain Dustin Brown redirected a long-range shot from Willie Mitchell into the net for the game-winning goal 10:26 into the second extra period at a jubilant Staples Center.
That gave the ever-resilient Los Angeles, who have proved masters of the comeback over the past three seasons, a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven championship series after winning their third straight overtime game.
“We have to be able to come back,” said Kings head coach Darryl Sutter, whose team became the first ever to win three Game Sevens en route to the Stanley Cup Finals and have rallied from two goals down in their last three outings.
“You’re not going to lead every game. It’s concerning at the point where it’s hard to score three goals (in a game) so I give our team a lot of credit for scoring four and then five.”
The Kings hoisted the coveted trophy for the first time in 2012 while the Rangers, one of the National Hockey League’s Original Six franchises, have clinched the championship title on four occasions, most recently in 1994.
The speedy Rangers, back in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in two decades, made an impressive start yesterday and had four shots on goal before the Kings forced New York netminder Henrik Lundqvist to make his first save of the night.
Defenseman Ryan McDonagh put the Rangers ahead with his fourth goal of the playoffs after almost 11 minutes, his long-range wrist shot from the left side finding the top right corner of the net.
With less than two minutes remaining in the first period, center Mats Zuccarello doubled New York’s lead when he tapped in a rebound at the post following several defensive lapses by Los Angeles.
The Kings pulled one back early in the second period, center Jarret Stoll scoring with a wrist shot as Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein failed to sweep the puck away with Lundqvist out of the net and sprawled on the ice.
The Rangers went ahead 3-1 midway through the period.