Deficits don't mean squat to resilient Kings | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaDeficits don't mean squat to resilient Kings

Posted: Sunday, June 8, 2014 | 02:06 PM

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Kings captain Dustin Brown (23) celebrates his double overtime goal in Game 2 against the Rangers with teammate Alec Martinez on Saturday night. (Harry How/Getty Images) Kings captain Dustin Brown (23) celebrates his double overtime goal in Game 2 against the Rangers with teammate Alec Martinez on Saturday night. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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The Los Angeles Kings have not held a lead in either of the first two games of the Stanley Cup final, but it means little when it comes to winning, writes Mike Brophy.
If it were Survivor, they probably would have been voted off the island by now. If it were American Idol in days gone by, Simon Cowell surely would have ripped them a new one.

But it is the Stanley Cup final and just because the Los Angeles Kings have not held a lead in either of the first two games of the best-of-seven series, doesn't mean squat.

In fact, the Kings falling behind only to stage late comebacks seem to be sticking to the script. They trailed Game 1 2-0 and came back to win 3-2 in overtime. On Saturday it appeared even more dire as Los Angeles again fell behind 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2, but won in double overtime - this time 5-4.

This has been a weird final. The Kings, Stanley Cup champs two years ago, were prohibitive favorites entering the series and are comfortably ahead, just two games away from winning it all, not because they have played great, but because they have great survival instincts. The Rangers, on the other hand, have not played poorly, but have been unable to protect the lead, and need two victories at home just to get back to even.

Kings' veteran centre Jarret Stoll said some things about the way his team is playing are hard to explain.

"I guess you look at the results, but we shouldn't because it's the way we play," Stoll said. "Are we playing good or are we not? Right now we're doing a lot of things that aren't in our game; haven't been in our game for years here. We're getting away with it I think right now. Don't get me wrong, we did a lot of good things to come back. Down 2-0, down 4-2.

Resiliency to come back and battle and push and pull everybody into it, battle for that tying goal and the winning goal again."

Kings quick to support goalie

It has not been the magical playoff it was two years ago for Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2011-12. In the six-game final against the New Jersey Devils Quick surrendered just eight goals and posted one shutout. 

In two games in this year's final he has already given up seven goals and his personal numbers - 2.80 goals-against average and .906 save percentage - are nothing to write home about.

Following Saturday's 5-4 win in double overtime captain Dustin Brown came to the aid of his stopper.

"Some of the goals, especially the first one, he had zero chance on," Brown said. "They had a few goals where Quicky didn't have a chance."

Added Stoll: "It's a game of mistakes. We made some mistakes on those goals and they're in our net. You're not going to blame your goalie."

Goal drought continues

Anze Kopitar can't buy a goal.

The big centre has now gone nine straight games without scoring a goal and has just one in his past 16, but that doesn't mean he is not playing well - quite the opposite, in fact. Kopitar and fellow centre Stoll each played 43 shifts Saturday - tied for the most among Kings' forwards. Kopitar, however, had 33:57 of ice time compared to Stoll's 23:24. Stoll took many faceoffs and quickly headed off the ice.

Working overtime

Los Angeles defenceman Drew Doughty led all skaters from both teams in ice time Saturday, skating 41:41 on 53 shifts. The Rangers Dan Girardi skated 57 shifts, but played 'only' 36:18. Rick Nash of the Rangers led all shooters from both sides with eight shots on goal. He did not score.

Full team effort:

Brown said nothing about the way the Kings' play changes when it gets to overtime.

"I think overtime games are just an extension of our normal game," the captain said. "When you are able to play six defencemen, four lines, it goes a long way in games when you go into multiple overtimes. We don't rely on one, two or three guys. If you look at it over the course of these playoffs, we got big games from different players each night. We share the workload which makes it a lot easier collectively on us as a team."

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