BELIEVE! Rangers have hope after tasting victory

By Clifford Davis

Somehow they played their worse game of the series, yet the Rangers found a way to escape game four with a 2-1 victory and avoid being swept, more importantly to them, they avoided watching the Kings hoist the Stanley Cup trophy on their home ice, “We definitely didn’t want to see the Cup come out on our ice. Just the thought of it makes me sick,” said Henrik Lundqvist.

The victory forces a game five back in Los Angeles on Friday night, a place that has not been kind to the Rangers so far. Despite losing game four, and not getting one of the Rangers better efforts, the Kings feel confident they can close this out at home, and the lost to the Rangers was more about what they didn’t do rather than what the Rangers did.

“We could have easily won that game. We just didn’t bear down at the right time,” said defenseman Drew Doughty. “It’s not like they had any great opportunities or anything like that, so we’re not worried about it.”

The Rangers indeed weren’t afforded great opportunities, but they cashed in on the few opportunities they did have. They also were on the right side of some lucky bounces, including the puck stopping in a pile of snow, in front of the goal line during the final minutes of the game, with the Rangers clinging to a one goal lead.

Still, the Rangers know they have to play one game at a time, and getting a victory in game four was a start, but it will take a much better effort in game five if they’re going to bring this series back to New York. They were outshot by the Kings in the third period 15-1, and outshot in the game 42-19. This was the Kings best game of the series, and the Rangers worse game, so it was no surprise the Kings were confident during postgame interviews, heading back home.

“We’re comfortable playing in our own rink, we’re going back to Staples, it’s comforting, but we would have liked to finish it tonight,” said Tanner Pearson.

The last two games at the Staples center were thrillers, the Rangers built two goal leads four different times over the two games, only to see the Kings fight back and win the games in overtime. The bounces in those games went Los Angeles way, and the Rangers can only hope game four was a sign of things changing more in their favor.

“Lundqvist had to make some huge saves in the second and third,” said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault. “He got, and we got a few bounces. You need those. Maybe the luck is changing a bit.”

The Rangers can only hope the luck is changing, because although they have proven they’re a resilient bunch (they are 5-0 when facing elimination this postseason), they know firsthand how tough it is to put away this Los Angeles Kings team, especially when they’re at home.

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