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Kings continue path of comebacks vs. Rangers

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jun 05 2014 04:57:34 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 06 2014 09:56:20 AM CDT
Los Angeles Kings win

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The script continues to play out for the Los Angeles Kings, who haven't taken the easy road in these Stanley Cup playoffs.

The New York Rangers jumped all over them in the first period Wednesday night and took a 2-0 lead.

But the Kings never seem to panic -- and even thrive when they are behind.

The Kings scored three unanswered goals, earning a 3-2 overtime win in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center.

"You don't want to trade chances with the New York Rangers," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "I said it [Tuesday] 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."

Added defenseman Drew Doughty, who scored the tying goal in the second period: "That's not the way we want to start games. It kind of got us off on the wrong foot."

The Kings just came off their third Game 7 of the opening three rounds, an emotional overtime affair with the defending champion Blackhawks in Chicago on Sunday.

The Kings have made falling behind early a 2014 playoff habit and a part of their identity -- from losing the first three games of the playoffs against the San Jose Sharks to falling behind 2-0 in the first period of Game 7 against the Blackhawks.

The Kings won all seven of their potential elimination games. They have conceded the first goal in 12 of their 22 games, and been behind after one period in 10 contests.

At some point, will this all catch up with them?

"If you make a habit of that, sooner or later it's going to bite you in the you know what," Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell said.

After Wednesday's game, reporters asked both teams why fatigue hasn't been a factor for the Kings.

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist almost didn't understand the question.

"It's a lot of talk (has been) about that, but they played one more game than us," said Lundqvist, whose Rangers needed 20 games to get here while the teams became the only ones in league history to make it to a Cup final after going the distance in the opening two rounds. "We have to expect them to come hard. At this time of year, you're not tired. You're just excited to be out there playing."

Agreeing with Lundqvist's assessment was Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.

"Everyone's legs were there," Doughty said. "Even though we played all those games, we're in the Stanley Cup final. You put that in the back of your head. You don't pay attention to that, to your legs just being not there."

Sutter was asked Thursday if he was concerned before Game 1 about the quick turnround to start the final.

"Yes. I think obviously the turnaround, guys are not machines," he said. "It was an emotional series against Chicago, Game 7. You play seven games, actually three overtime periods in there, when you add that in there you're close to eight games when it was all said and done. It was tough."

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault had complained about the schedule between the first round and second round, when his team played five games in seven nights.

On Thursday, Vigneault was asked if the Rangers let Game 1 get away.

"Well, I'm in the process at this time of watching the game," he said. "I haven't watched the whole game yet. I've watched parts of it.

"One thing that's real evident to me, and it should be to our whole group, is we're not going to beat this team if we do not all bring our A game. It is that strong of an opponent that we're playing against.

"We had (Henrik Lundqvist) that brought his A game last night. We had a couple guys. I don't want to name who I think brought their A game. But our B game won't do it. We're not going to win if we bring our B game to the table.

"They're one of the best teams I've seen in a long time. Areas to exploit, they don't jump out at you. We're going to have to be better than we were."