SUN Hockey Pool

Kings' Quick just not the same in this Cup final

Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, stopping Brad Richards in close on Saturday night, has not been as...

Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, stopping Brad Richards in close on Saturday night, has not been as dominant as he was two seasons ago when he won the Conn Smythe Trophy. (AFP)

Steve Simmons, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:27 PM ET

This much we know: Jonathan Quick is not on his way to his second Conn Smythe Trophy.

Two years ago, Quick allowed just seven goals in a marvelous performance, leading Los Angeles to the Stanley Cup.

So far, in just two overtime games of this speedy, un-Kings-like, back-and-forth, Cup final, Quick has already allowed six.

Some of it has come because the New York Rangers have been relentless with their speed and have won the battle of styles through the first two periods of each game of the final. And some of it has come because Quick, frankly, hasn’t been all that great.

The goal he really wanted back Saturday night came 11 seconds after Los Angeles pushed itself back into a game in which the Kings were being outplayed.

Quick went behind his own to set a dump-in, took too long, was too close to his defenceman, didn’t set the puck properly, and defenceman Willie Mitchell couldn’t handle it, leading to a New York goal by Derick Brassard.

OVERTIME IS THE GAME

The first two games of the Cup final have gone to overtime for the first time since ... last year. And before that ... it was the year before.

This is the third straight final in which both Game 1 and 2 both went to overtime.

Before that, the previous back-to-back overtimes came 61 years earlier.

Another strange stat: In the past eight Cup games, five of which went to overtime, the winning team has led for all of 60 seconds. Through two games, the Kings have yet to hold a lead in regulation time.

OFFENCE FROM DEFENCE

The Rangers’ top four defenceman were giving Los Angeles all kinds of trouble through the first two periods.

The ever-emerging star, Ryan McDonagh scored a goal and set one up in the first period.

But it wasn’t just points that were giving the Kings fit, it was the men at the points. It’s clearly the Rangers’ gameplan to be aggressive from the back end the first pair of McDonagh and Dan Girardi have been that, as have the surprising pair of Anton Stralman and Marc Staal.

McDonagh, though, had a rough third period, especially when he overplayed the puck in his own zone, wound up giving it up and losing his balance on Marion Gaborik’s unassisted game-tying goal. The assist, unfortunately, came from McDonagh.

QUOTE DU JOUR

“I have more draft picks on the Rangers than Glen Sather does,” joked former Columbus GM Doug MacLean, here broadcasting for Rogers Sportsnet. Five of the Rangers used to play for the Blue Jackets.

THIS AND THAT

The third Los Angeles goal could well have been called off for goalie interference. Henrik Lundqvist certainly thought so. This is where a coach’s challenge, if ever implemented, has a chance to alter a playoff outcome ... Holy analytics: The Kings’ game is all about managing the puck, which leads to puck possession. On the key fourth goal scored by Brassard, they didn’t manage it and lost possession resulting in a goal .... What was Lundqvist thinking on the first Los Angeles goal? He way overplayed the situation, leading to an almost embarrassing goal scored by Jarret Stoll ... Tough night for Kings defenceman Matt Greene, who gave the puck away often, seemed out of position on occasion and completely misread a power play odd man rush by New York, resulting in Martin St. Louis scoring another of those St. Louis goals. Greene, who was almost replaced by Robyn Regehr prior to the game, may be pushed out for Game 3 in New York. Greene did bounce back with a piece of redemption with a third period setup of a goal, while it looked as though the Kings interfered with Lundqvist ... St. Louis, by the way, has almost patented the shot that goes just under the cross bar to score. There are few players in the National Hockey League who own that part of the net the way he does. ... Through two games of the Stanley Cup final, the pace has been frenetic, the games mistake-filled, the score often unpredictable: This series has been more fun than most anticipated. Which is good for the speedy Rangers.

HEAR AND THERE

The Kings coaches are pushing a four-pronged approach to getting to Lundqvist, which hasn’t really happened much in the series. The approach is: Shoot, screen, tip and go for rebounds. In other words, get traffic around King Henrik and take his eyes away. The one goal by Mitchell came from a screened point shot. But 11 seconds later, the Rangers scored off the poor puck-setting by Quick ... The ice, itself, didn’t seem up to the action Saturday night. Too many bouncing or rolling pucks. Too many players losing their footing without being forced ... Mr. Playoffs, Justin Williams, who started the game badly, ended up with three assists ... Still looking for: Rick Nash ... Lundqvist’s best first-period save came off an Anze Kopitar deflection on the Kings better line rushes of the night ... Drew Doughty is trying to do too much: Like all great players, when he tries to force the play, he ends up making mistakes ... Girardi left the game in the first period after being hit by Stoll. He returned shortly afterwards ... Impressive to watch: Little Mats Zuccarello, who seems to be skating non-stop for the Rangers. Also impressive, as always, Dominic Moore centring the Rangers fourth line. He assisted on the first New York score ... Not all timeouts work: Alain Vigneault called a timeout at 6:54 of the third period after New York iced the puck. Forty-two seconds later, Gaborik scored to tie the game ... Among the celebrities in attendance for Game 2: Britney Spears and Steve Nash.

 


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