NY Rangers fans were given a glimmer of hope last night when King Henrik Lundqvist picked the team up and carried them on his back to a 2-1 victory in game 4. This allowed the NY Rangers to avid the sweep, but do they still have a serious chance to win the Stanley Cup?
It’s certainly a long shot, though not completely unprecedented. In the NHL’s storied history, five teams have come back from a 0-3 deficit in series of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Only one of those teams has done so in the Stanley Cup finals. In fact, it was the first team to come back from 0-3, the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs (a team that has perennially missed the playoffs in recent years – last year being the exception), who came back to defeat the Detroit Red Wings (who made it to their 23rd straight playoffs this year).
According to Answers, the other four teams to accomplish the feat the NY Rangers would love to duplicate – coming back from 0-3 in an NHL playoff series – are the NY Islanders (1975, against the Penguins), the Flyers (2010, against the Bruins) and the Canadiens (2010, against the Capitals) and -most recently – the LA Kings in this year’s first round against the San Jose Sharks. The NY Rangers would dearly love to be number six on the list. But can they do it?
A lot of that depends on the NY Rangers, of course. There’s no doubt they can come back from a 1-3 deficit in a playoff series. Just ask Sidney Crosby – the likely NHL MVP – and the Pittsburgh Penguins. After jumping out to a 3 game to 1 lead in the first four games, Pittsburgh watches as the NY Rangers caught fire and dismantled their Stanley Cup hopes and dreams, taking the series 7 games. As we all know by now, the NY Rangers won that game 7. Can they force another?
A lot will have to change, and quick, if the NY Rangers expect to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup, and it will need to start with their best player, King Henrik Lundqvist.
It may sound insane to suggest that Lundqvist – who has been solid, even in the NY Rangers’ losses – is the problem, but check out this quote from the NY Rangers goaltender in a Yahoo Sports report:
“We didn’t want to see the Cup coming out on our home ice tonight. Yeah, just the thought of it makes me feel sick.”
Lundqvist has also said that he didn’t want the LA Kings to win two in a row in New York, on the Rangers home ice.
That’s great, but it could also be part of the problem. The NY Rangers know they need to focus on one game at a time, but talk like that doesn’t express any expectation that the NY Rangers could win the cup – and that’s a shame in this year’s playoffs, when coming from behind seems to be the norm. If the NY Rangers want to win, their leaders need to talk like winners.
Don’t expect the LA Kings to give the NY Rangers any slack – they know from personal experience that a team can indeed come back from 0-3.