Rangers-Kings game 4 starts tonight at 8 P.M. Eastern Time – 5 P.M. for West Coast fans who hope to see their Los Angeles Kings complete the sweep against the New York Rangers.
The Rangers have their backs against the wall. They’ve been there before, but not quite like this. For one thing, they’re down 0-3. That’s daunting enough. If they pull it off, they’ll be only the fourth team in NHL history to come back from an 0-3 deficit in a playoff series – and the first team to do so in the Stanley Cup finals since 1942, when the Toronto Maple Leafs came back against the Detroit Red Wings (who made the playoffs for the 23rd straight year this season). The other teams to come back from 0-3 are the 1974-75 New York Islanders (in the quarterfinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins) and the 2009-2010 Philadelphia Flyers (in the Eastern Conference Semis against the Boston Bruins).
These Rangers are familiar with having their backs against the wall. They’ve gone seven games in two out of three series and six games in the other. They fell behind a tough Pittsburgh team that many figured to go all the way. The Rangers have proven that they can dig their way out of a hole – but can they do it in the Kings-Rangers series?
They’ll have to start with Rangers-Kings game 4. It’s now or never, win or go home while the Kings skate the Stanley Cup back to Los Angeles. What’s more, they’re going to have to find a way to beat a suddenly-hot Jonathan Quick to do it. If you’ve been following the game long, you already know from the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs that Quick is capable of picking a mediocre team up on his back and carrying them all the way through the playoffs – and this Kings team is considerably better than mediocre.
So, what do the Rangers have to do to keep their Stanley Cup hopes alive? Ranger’s goaltender Henrik Lundqvist doesn’t think they need to change much. According to a Yahoo Sports report, he said:
“It’s not like we’ve been outplayed here. That’s not been the case. They’ve been good, but I think we’ve been playing pretty good as well. It comes down to a couple plays here and there. That’s been the difference in these games.”
New York coach Alain Vigneault was more concise in what he felt needed to happen. When asked what the Rangers needed to do differently, he summed it up in a word: “Score.”
You can watch the Rangers-Kings game 4 streaming online live tonight here.