FIVE REASONS FOR THE RANGERS TO TAKE HEART:
1. Henrik Lundqvist is in mint condition.
2. Given even average support in the overtime, he would have won the game for New York.
3. Ryan McDonagh can play a 60-minute-plus game and hardly break a sweat.
4. A 2-2 game that was decided on a freakish play is not likely to happen again to Dan Girardi.
5. The Law of Averages says that Rick Nash will bust out in Game 2.
FIVE REASONS WHY THE KINGS SHOULD WORRY:
1. Carl Hagelin‘s speed cannot be contained.
2. Next time Hagelin’s breakaway in the final minutes will go in the net, not Jonathan Quick’s pads.
3. Marty St. Louis may not have scored in Game 1, but he’s looking like he’ll get a money goal or two or three.
4. John Moore will return from his suspension and give the Blueshirts a better rounded defense.
5. Chris Kreider is due for a Justin Williams-type game.
FIVE MISTAKES THE RANGERS MUST CORRECT IN GAME TWO
1. Derek Stepan must make a much better clearing attempt than he did in the first period, setting the stage for the Kings’ comeback.
2. Don’t overpass on the power play. Any time the PP features more than three straight passes, it’s doomed to be broken.
3. Don’t wait; don’t hesitate as Rick Nash did late in the third period when he barreled down right wing and then suddenly jammed on the brakes, nullifying a potential game-winning attack.
4. Go for the jugular. When up 2-0 the Blueshirts — on a 3-on-2 break — had Jon Quick way-way-way out of position, but botched the play with an errant pass.
5. Hit harder. Use more of Derek Dorsett and, when he’s back from his suspension for Game 4, Dan Carcillo.
1. The Kings outshot the Blueshirts 20-3 in the third period, but the Rangers held LA to only a handful of quality scoring chances and no goals in the frame. Ergo: It wasn’t nearly as bad as some panicky media types made it out to be.
2. With all the talk of L.A.’s star power, it was the Kings’ fourth-liner Kyle Clifford who lifted the Kings with the immensely useful first goal. Clifford also helped set up his club’s tying (second) goal in the middle period.
3. If Game 1 is any indication, the Rangers are just as deadly shorthanded as they are on the power play. On the penalty kill,Hagelin makes the Kings protect against a counter-rush more than they would like.
4. After scoring the series-winning goal against the Blackhawks, Kings defenseman Alec Martinez struggled mightily in Wednesday’s opener. Unfortunately, he didn’t struggle enough!
5. While this Final has been dubbed the Battle of the Netminders, both Lundqvist and Quick have betrayed flaws; as in top-shelf space left unprotected.
THE MAVEN REMEMBERS — A CUP OF EMPTY CHAMPAGNE
My first Final I saw in person was in 1958 at the old Boston Garden. This was the Canadiens team that would win five straight Stanley Cups between 1956 and 1960. They beat Boston 5-3 and I covered the celebration in a dressing room that was a little smaller than my clothes closet. It was fun, except for one thing: There was no champagne. The Habs celebrated with Coca Cola. The champagne would be later, when they had a reception at City Hall in Montreal.