Saturday afternoon provided a battle of two last place teams. Both New York and LA were looking for their third and fourth wins of the season resoectively as we near November. As expected, the game was sloppy at points. The Rangers came out swinging to take an early lead, but lack of discipline and the continued struggle on the penalty kill gave the Kings a 4-3 victory. Ilya Kovalchuk carried LA with a clutch goal and two assists. This was certainly the most heartbreaking defeat this season for the Blueshirts, as the Kings have had an awful start to tbe season and two points were foreseeable. Nevertheless, the Kings and Rangers are both (3-7-1) now.
The first frame provided little besides from a scoring review that lasted nearly 7 minutes. Both squads had a slow start to the period, and most shots on goal were floppy wristers. The two best scoring opportunities were split between the two teams. Anze Kopitar and the first line started a speedy rush and pressured Lundqvist who made great consecutive saves to keep the game even. For the Rangers, Pavel Buchnevich layed a beautiful sauce onto the stick of Vlad Namestnikov who went to the front of the net hard and slipped one past Kings goalie Jack Campbell. Due to a hard collision, there was a lengthy to decide if the goal was legal, but the score would count.
The second period featured an electric Staples Center and domination by Los Angeles. The only positive for the Rangers in the frame was a lucky goal from Tony Deangelo, who lit the lamp for the first time in over a year by banking a shot in from the side boards. After that, it was the King’s period. New York, 24th in the league on the penalty kill, showed why that is where they are ranked in the league. On the first power play for LA, Kovalchuk threw a puck on net that Hank probably should have coralled, but the rebound was put home by alternate captain Dustin Brown. Only one minute later, the Rangers took a too many men on the ice penalty. Ridiculously, the Rangers have served the most PIM off of this penalty. This has got to be fixed by David Quinn sooner rather than later. Once again on the ice, Ilya Kovalchuk sniped one top shelf past Lundqvist to tie the game at two.
The third period was entertaining, but one that Henrik Lundqvist wants to get back. The Kings scored two goals that squeaked through to secure the victory in a back and forth frame. Kings foward Trevor Lewis started the scoring by capitalizing on a juicy rebound following a shot by Adrian Kempe. Shortly after, Ryan Spooner went five hole for his first of the year to set the game equal for the Blueshirts. For the next four minutes, the energy was high and the crowd was loud, and then the minds of many Rangers fans were haunted. Alec Martinez flew down the ice on a rush in the final minute and flicked a wobbly wristee into the back of the net which ended up being the game winner. For those who don’t remember, in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, Martinez won the stanley cup for the Kings at the Staples Center on a quick rush down the ice in double overtime.
This afternoon’s defeat may prove to be very costly for the Blueshirts because for a young and inexperienced team like theu are, it is key to gain points when they are at the easiest. On a whole other note, I do not understand why Cody Mcleod is in the lineup. All he has done in his tenure is give the opposing team power plays, have a negative +\-, and make grave mistakes. Although Vinny Lettieri has been terrible this season, his discipline on the ice is a reason for him to sub in for Mcleod in upcoming games. Today’s game showed very little effort from the boys in blue, but they will have a chance for redemption Tuesday night against the Sharks.