After the Los Angeles Kings overcame an early 2-0 deficit to defeat the New York Rangers in overtime, the buzz phrase was, “We don’t want to make a habit of that.”
We’re in June though and you could argue that the Kings have long since made falling behind early a 2014 playoff habit, to the point where the comebacks that have stemmed from it have become the foundation of this team’s identity. From losing the first three games of the playoffs against the San Jose Sharks to falling behind 2-0 in the first period of Game 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks, we have consistently seen the Kings end up in a position where they either need to dig themselves out of series or individual game holes.
So far they have stepped up. They’ve won all seven of their potential elimination games. They have conceded the first goal in 12 of their 22 games, and been behind after one period in 10 contests, but they have strong 5-7 and 4-6 records in those scenarios respectively. To put that into context, a team trailing after one period has gone on to win about 29% of the time in the 2014 playoffs, compared to the Kings 40% comeback rate.
At some point though, will this all catch up with them? Will they pull off comebacks right up until the point they lift the Cup or will the New York Rangers be the team that finally makes them pay?
“If you make a habit of that, sooner or later it’s going to bite you in the you know what,” Mitchell said.
Perhaps they’ll finally break the habit. Maybe they can win the Cup without digging themselves out of another sizable hole first.