Rangers at Kings.
First of all … NOT a must-win. Big, very important game, yes, and going down 0-2 will be extremely difficult against this L.A. team … but NOT a must-win.
Teams winning Game 2 of the Final have gone on to win the Cup 55 of 74 times (74.3 percent) since the Final went to the best-of-seven format in 1939. That includes eight of the last 11 Game 1 winners.
Forty-eight teams have taken a 2-0 series lead in best-of-seven Final series. Of those clubs, 43 (89.9 percent) have gone on to claim win the Cup, including the Kings in 2012.
The all-time series record of home teams sweeping Games 1 and 2 of the Final is 32-3 (.914), but two of those losses have come in the last five years: Detroit, which won Games 1 and 2 before losing to Pittsburgh in 2009; and Alain Vigneault’s Vancouver Canucks, who won the first two at home and lost to Boston in seven.
The only other time the home team has won the first two games of the Final but did not ultimately win the Stanley Cup was in 1971, when Chicago took a 2-0 series lead and lost to Montreal in seven.
Every series since 2004, except last year’s Chicago-Boston series, was 2-0 after two games.
Within games, four of the last seven games in the Final were won by teams that led for fewer than 60 seconds. Los Angeles, which never led Game 1, was the third team to win in that fashion in that span.
Ryan McDonagh entered Game 2 on a four-game assist/point streak (0-5-5), the first Rangers defenseman since Sergei Zubov in 1995 to have assists in four straight.
Dan Girardi moves into sole possession of second on the franchise’s all-time list for games played (86), ahead of Dave Maloney, trailing only Steve Vickers (93). Girardi can’t catch Vickers until next spring.
John Moore, back from his two-game suspension, replaced Raphael Diaz on defense. Cam Talbot (undisclosed injury) remained out. David LeNeveu dressed as Henrik Lundqvist’s backup again. Daniel Carcillo served the fifth of his reduced six-game suspension. J.T. Miller was available, but did not play.
After the game, vote for the Three Rangers Stars in the poll on the left.
Also, during the playoffs, follow Josh Thomson, @jthomson22.