In our first New York Rangers Turning Point we’ll take a look back at Game 2 of the 2014 Final and why it changed everything.
With free agency quieting down and the dog days of summer upon us, we’re going to start a new series entitled, “New York Rangers Turning Point”.
In this series we’ll discuss and dissect the crucial moments in a game that changed the course of New York Rangers’ history.
We’re going to start off by discussing Game 2 of the 2014 Final, which was (almost) a Cinderella Story of sorts for the Rangers and their fans.
The Rangers earned the right to battle the Los Angeles Kings in the Final after beating the Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Montreal Canadiens in previous series.
There was a tangible buzz in New York City that spring. People who had never watched a hockey game rallied around that Rangers team.
New York City Newspapers, sports talk shows, and sports news; it was all New York Rangers.
Having said that, no one gave the Rangers a shot at actually winning the Stanley Cup. Most analysts thought the Kings would make easy work out of the Blueshirts with their physical and relentless style of play.
So when the Rangers took a 4-2 lead in the second period of Game 2, there was reason to be excited.
The team that no one believed had a chance to win had taken a 4-2 lead over the Kings.
The David vs. Goliath story had begun, or so we thought.
While dominating is a strong word, the Rangers were certainly controlling most of the play through two periods. Henrik Lundqvist had been a stone wall for the most part, and the Blueshirts even lead in the shot column by a tally of 22-20.
Contrary to this past season, the Rangers were all but guaranteed to win when coming into the third period with a lead.
A two goal lead? Well that seemed safe.
But that is when this happened.
In today’s NHL, that is clearly goalie interference on LA’s part.
But 2014 was a different time, and the referees allowed the goal to stand even though Dwight King basically ran over Lundqvist.
Everything changed when that King goal was allowed to stand. It not only gave the Kings momentum in that game, but in the entire series.
While that game technically didn’t decided anything as far as the outcome of the series was concerned, it was the Rangers’ one chance to keep the series close.
The Kings had scored two goals through two periods, but this goal was very different. While the Rangers were known for their third period dominance, the 2014 Kings were known for their comeback abilities.
And that is exactly what would happen.
Marian Gaborik tied the game five minutes later, and the Kings would go on to win in double overtime.
In fact, three of the five games in that series would go to overtime.
The Kings won all of them.
While it’s obviously pure speculation, I firmly believe that if that King goal hadn’t been allowed to stand, then the Rangers would have pushed the series to seven games.
The Rangers fell flat in Game 3 even though they dominated most of the game, would win Game 4, and the rest was history.