Dustin Brown scored at 10:26 of double overtime as the never-say-die Los Angeles Kings mounted another late comeback to defeat New York 5-4 on Saturday, leaving the Rangers in a 2-0 hole in the Stanley Cup final.
The Los Angeles captain ended a long night by tipping in a Willie Mitchell shot from the point.
"Usually it's not a very pretty [OT] goal and that's what happened tonight," said Los Angeles forward Anze Kopitar. "I know it's a cliche but every shot's a good shot in OT and if turned out to be that way."
Amazingly the favoured Kings have yet to lead in this Cup final, pulling ahead only in OT both games.
The series switches to Madison Square Garden with games Monday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 8 p.m. ET) and Wednesday and the odds heavily on the side of Los Angeles, which trailed by two goals on three different occasions Saturday.
"We all battled. I battled," said Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. "When you play five periods, obviously the difference is not very big."
Home teams sweeping Games 1 and 2 of the final have won 32 of 35 series (.914 per cent) since the championship series went to a best-of-seven format in 1939.
The only positive for New York is the Penguins (2009) and Bruins (2011) both came back from losing the first two games of the final away from home to take the Cup. But the resilient Kings have shown that you need a lot of nails to secure their coffin.
It marks the first time ever that Games 1 and 2 of the Cup final have gone to overtime three straight years (L.A-New Jersey in 2012 and Chicago-Boston in 2013). Prior to that, it had been 61 years since the opening two games of the final went to extra time.
It was also the fourth OT game for the Kings in their last five outings and the fourth for the Rangers in their past six.
It's been a marathon playoff journey for both teams. Saturday's game was the 23rd of the post-season and 105th of the campaign for the Kings. It was No. 22 and 104, respectively, for the Rangers.
Ryan McDonagh, Mats Zuccarello, Martin St. Louis and Derick Brassard scored for the Rangers, who jumped into a 2-0 lead for the second game in a row.
Jarret Stoll, Mitchell, Dwight King and Marian Gaborik scored for Los Angeles before a sellout crowd of 18,532 at Staples Center. Justin Williams had three assists.
The Kings have scored three-plus goals in eight consecutive games.
Los Angeles outshot New York 32-29 in regulation time, including 12-7 in the third. The shots were 8-6 for the Rangers in the first overtime.
Goalies Lundqvist of the Rangers and Jonathan Quick of the Kings once again lived up to their reputations, with some stellar stops on the night.
The Rangers turned the screws early in overtime, pressuring the Kings who were forced to call their time out five minutes in after an icing. Lundqvist had to deal with a nasty tip before the Rangers' Chris Kreider hit Quick and the post.
Dominic Moore was called for high-sticking, catching Jeff Carter in the face, at 10:01. The Rangers survived and Williams was sent off late in the Moore penalty for interference.
With Carter off for goalie interference, penalty killer King shot wide on a glorious chance. Kreider then shot wide on a breakaway.
New York led the hit count 49-48 through the first overtime with Kreider accounting for nine alone.
Lundqvist stopped Gaborik early in the second OT. Quick then had to make two rapid-fire saves, one off Rick Nash.
After losing the opener 3-2 in overtime, New York coach Alain Vigneault challenged his players to bring their A game and they responded. Unlike Wednesday, the Rangers raised their game when Los Angeles pushed back.
But the Kings refused to lie down, clawing their way back from a 4-2 deficit with two goals in the third period.
With New York leading 2-0 after the first, there were four goals in an eventful second period that saw both teams trade goals while scoring two apiece. Three of the goals came in a 3:36 stretch, including two in 11 seconds.
Trailing 4-2 after two periods, the Kings narrowed the gap at 1:58 of the third with King tipping in a Matt Greene shot from the blue-line. The puck banged off King as he jousted with McDonagh in front of a helpless Lundqvist.
Asked if King's goal was the result of goalie interference, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said: "Ask the NHL."
Los Angeles pulled even at 7:36 with Gaborik beating Lundqvist for his 13th of the playoffs after McDonagh fell on a clearing attempt.
While the first period belongs to the Rangers in these playoffs, Los Angeles owns the third. They have outscored opponents 29-16 in the third period this post-season.
The Kings, 7-0 in elimination games in these playoffs, have been the picture of resilience. Saturday marked the fifth time in 10 days they have erased a two-goal deficit. They did it three times against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference final, winning two of the contests.
The Rangers have been good in the first period all playoffs and Saturday's opening was no exception.
Quick was called upon early, making a blocker save on Rick Nash just 30 seconds in. And the Rangers pressed from the get-go with four shots before the Kings finally got one on target some four minutes in.
Los Angeles got back into it with some bone-crunching physical shifts. But the Rangers gave as good as they got in a punishing period.
A Gaborik tripping penalty produced chances at both ends, with Lundqvist making a fine stop off penalty killer Tyler Toffoli.
McDonagh opened the scoring at 10:48 with a shot from the point after a Williams giveaway behind the goal. The opportunistic Moore retrieved the puck and McDonagh's shot went through traffic, deflecting off Stoll for his fourth goal — and team-leading 15th point — of the playoffs.
Zuccarello extended the lead at 18:46 with his fifth goal, racing into the Los Angeles zone after a Greene turnover at the New York blue-line. The Kings — chasing the speedy Rangers — couldn't clear the puck and Zuccarello beat Kopitar to the puck at the corner of the goal, stuffing it in after McDonagh's shot hit him.
The goal came a minute after Lundqvist made a big glove save off Alec Martinez.
New York outshot the Kings 10-9 in a physical first period that saw L.A. outhit the Rangers 18-16.
The Rangers have outscored their opposition 25-11 in the first period these playoffs.
McDonagh went to the dressing room with a goal, an assist and three hits. Brown, the victim of a McDonagh cross-check in the period, was also getting his hands dirty with four hits.
Stoll pulled one back at 1:46 of the second period after a Brad Richards turnover in his own end. Williams ended up with the puck, sending a backhand pass to Stoll with Quick sliding out of the goal after stopping a weak shot from the point. Stoll fired the shot past defenceman Kevin Klein for his third of the playoffs.
As in Game 1, Los Angeles came on in the second, winning battles and banging bodies.
St. Louis blunted the Kings comeback with a power-play goal at 11:24 with Los Angeles penalized for too many men on the ice. The Kings defence was slow to react to an attack and Derek Stepan slid the puck over to St. Louis for a one-timer from his favourite spot at the faceoff circle. It was his seventh of the playoffs and the 40th of his post-season career (he is the 12th active player to reach the milestone).
Mitchell trimmed the lead to 3-2 with a power-play goal at 14:39 on a shot from the blue-line as King screened Lundqvist.
But the Rangers responded 11 seconds later, upping their lead to 4-2.
Off the ensuing faceoff, the puck ended up behind the L.A. net from a shoot-in. Quick went to leave it for Mitchell, who flubbed the clearance. Zuccarello got the puck out to Brassard, who snapped home a wrist shot with Quick all turned around. It was his sixth of the playoffs.
The sequence marked the fastest two goals in the Cup final in 67 years. The record is two goals in 10 seconds, set in 1936 and 1947.
New York outshot Los Angeles 12-11 in the period.
John Moore returned from his two-game suspension to join Klein on the Rangers' third defensive pairing. But the Kings opted not to use veteran defenceman Robyn Regehr, who has been out injured since Game 1 of the Anaheim series. Coach Darryl Sutter had said Regehr would probably play Saturday.