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Los Angeles Kings @ New York Rangers Game 51 Running Diary: The Kings OWN the King again, win 4-3 in overtime

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Henrik Lundqvist must have some sort of Hockey PTSD because of the Kings.

Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

It’s the New York Rangers versus the Los Angeles Kings from Madison Square Garden. For the second straight game the lines will look something like this:

Iafallo—Kopitar—Brown
Leipsic—Carter—Toffoli
Hagelin—Kempe—Kovalchuk
Clifford—Amadio—Wagner

Forbort—Doughty
Martinez—Fantenberg
Phaneuf—LaDue

Jonathan Quick in goal.

Also for the second straight game, the Kings have scratched Sean Walker and Matt Luff. I know that Willie Desjardins hasn’t gotten the memo about the Kings not renewing his interim coach contract sometime around April 8th, but it sure would be fantastic if he didn’t spend the last thirty games wasting developmental time for players like Luff and Walker. How frustrating it is to see these kids called up only to be practice squad players.

All week I’ve had visions of Alec Martinez winning this game in overtime, Henrik Lundqvist laying face down on the ice as the Kings celebrate, and then Rob Blake meeting Martinez in the tunnel to tell him that he’s been traded to Tampa Bay. The trade deadline weights heavy for a (near) last place team heading to the trade deadline.

First Period

5:37—Despite having an early power play, the Kings have yet to register a shot on goal. They’ve been disorganized to say the least. And, although the Rangers only have one shot on goal, they have the Kings under duress.

Rangers 1. Kings 0.

9:32—Martinez inexplicably leaves Chris Kreider alone in front of the net at the exact second he tips in a perfect pass from Tony DeAngelo. Wait, the Kings are challenging for offsides on a play that provides anything BUT clear evidence needed to overturn this goal. Wow, Desjardins NEVER gets the challenge right. Rangers immediately to the power play because of the new delay of game rule on failed challenges.

Rangers 1. Kings 1.

17:32—Ilya Kolvachuk’s combo head fake / no-look pass freezes Lundqvist long enough for Adrian Kempe to tie this one up. That’s Kempe’s first goal since December 11th. We’ll take it!

End of Period.

The Kings looked alternatively lost, passive, dominant, and then overwhelmed in that period. What a microcosm of the 2018-19 season. Nonetheless, tie score.

Shots: Rangers 12. Kings 8.
Shot Attempts: Rangers 18. Kings 8.

Second Period

Rangers 2. Kings 1.

0:32—The entire intermission I heard the Kings announcers state they need to make adjustments to slow the Rangers down. As far as my eye can see, there were no adjustments made. Despite a great chance by Alex Iafallo, the Rangers rush the Kings zone, leaving the Kings discombobulated. Mika Zibanejad with the goal; he has now had a part in the last ten Rangers goals. Mats Zuccarello with an assist to extend his streak of consecutive games played with a point to eight (5G, 9A).

14:45—How is it that the Rangers look three times faster than the Kings? The black and white showing absolutely no speed through the neutral zone and unable to create any rush opportunities.

16:14—Kings buzzing for once, but the referees with the quick whistle despite there being no obvious control of the puck. Nothing bothers me more than not knowing when to use your timeout and the quick whistle. The referee was right on top of that play and blows it down anyway despite the body language of everyone out there proving the puck was in play.

End of Period.

Why is this only a one-goal game? Same two words/names as last game: Jonathan Quick.

Shots: Rangers 24. Kings 21.
Shot Attempts: Rangers 37. Kings 25.

Third Period

Fun Fact—The Kings have nine holdovers from the 2014 Stanley Cup Final while the Rangers have just five. Here’s the list:

Rangers:
Jesper Fast
Chris Kreider
Henrik Lundqvist
Marc Staal
Mats Zuccarello

Kings:
Dustin Brown
Jeff Carter
Kyle Clifford
Drew Doughty
Anze Kopitar
Trevor Lewis
Alec Martinez
Jonathan Quick
Tyler Toffoli

Carl Hagelin was a member of the 2014 Rangers SC Final team. Good to know.

2:01—Meanwhile, north of the border, Jake Muzzin is helping his new team abuse the Ducks 3-0. He’s got a goal and an assist. Still a King at heart. Also this:

3:45—Jeff Carter is NOT on the Kings bench. Is he hurt? Was he traded? No one knows.

Rangers 2. Kings 2.

5:04—Carter’s absence forces Kopitar in between Hagelin and Kovalchuk. This promptly which produces a brilliant Kovalchuk pass to Koptiar who matches it with an equally brilliant backhander high over Lundqvist who was napping.

8:00—Kings dominating the third, outshooting the Rangers 6-0.

Rangers 3. Kings 2.

9:15—Adam McQuaid scores his first goal of the year. How many times this season have they given an opposing player their first goal of the season? LOTS! That’s how many. How did that goal find its way in?

12:30—Carter with the lower body injury and he is done for the night.

16:50—Kings with their first shot since the 7:30 mark. Worry time.

Rangers 3. Kings 3.

19:00—Kings with their first 6-on-5 extra attacker goal of the year. Toffoli with the nifty backhand pass to Kempe who chips it home.

Lundqvist stayed on his knees for a good ten seconds after the goal—yes, I timed it—give us a break, Hank! Kempe with a fantastic game. Twenty games without a goal and then two in one game. What a bizarre season.

End of Period.

That’s heart and now the Kings look for the season sweep as the game goes to overtime.

Shots: Kings 29. Rangers 27.

Overtime

00:17—Zibanejad rings one off the post. Quick never saw that one.

00:25—Kempe in full beast mode takes the post-ringer and gets it up ice to Toffoli who patiently waits and beats Lundqvist.

End of Game.

Shots: Kings 30. Rangers 27.

Epilogue

You have to wonder how much Henrik Lundqvist hates the Los Angeles Kings. They own him, especially in overtime. Besides the Cup memories, I love how the Kings torture Lundqvist more than anything else in this era. Kings still firmly in 30th place, but now only eight points out of a playoff spot.

Next: Tuesday—The Kings continue their Grammy Trip visiting the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.

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