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Put the brooms away: Rangers avoid sweep, force Game 5 in L.A.

Jun 11, 2014, 11:12 PM EDT

After falling behind 0-3 in the Stanley Cup Final, the Rangers were consistent with their message — all they needed to do was win just one game.

On Wednesday night, they did exactly that.

The Rangers got the better of the Kings for the first time this series, scoring a 2-1 victory in Game 4 to avoid a sweep and send the Stanley Cup Final back to Los Angeles.

It was a huge effort by the Rangers and nobody in blue was more dialed in than Henrik Lundqvist. The New York netminder, who watched Jonathan Quick shut out his teammates on Monday night at MSG, was brilliant throughout the night, stopping 40 of 41 shots — 15 of which came in a busy third period, in which the Rangers were out-shot by a 15-to-1 margin.

Lundqvist wasn’t the only Ranger making big saves, however. Anton Stralman and Derek Stepan both made unreal goal line stops, which included the kind of puck luck that’d eluded New York for most of the opening three games of the series.

Oh yeah, there were also some goals scored tonight.

The Rangers, looking to make amends to the MSG faithful who were bitterly disappointed with Monday’s shutout loss, opened the scoring early in the first period when Benoit Pouliot tipped home John Moore‘s point shot just after Willie Mitchell‘s high-sticking penalty had expired.

While it wasn’t technically a power-play goal, it did give the Rangers life as they looked dangerous with the man advantage, something that might build momentum for a struggling unit that’s gone just 1-for-17 this series. After Pouliot’s goal, the Rangers made it 2-0 midway through the second period when Martin St. Louis scored his team-leading eighth of the playoffs at the 6:27 mark.

But oh, those two goal leads.

Having blown four of them through the first two games of the series, New York looked in danger of surrendering another one shortly after the St. Louis goal, when Dustin Brown took advantage of Dan Girardi‘s broken stick to score a breakaway goal on Lundqvist.

After the Brown goal, L.A. turned up the heat. It carried play for the second half of the middle frame and almost all of the third period but couldn’t beat Lundqvist, who put forth one of the most clutch performances of his storied career.

For the Kings, this loss is a bit of deja vu from the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, when they were unable to close the door on New Jersey in Game 4 and only managed to score once (in a 3-1 loss). While they’re still in command of the series, the Kings will be wary of a Rangers team that now has life and probably telling itself this series should be at least 2-2, given how things went in L.A. over the opening two games.

For the Rangers, well, they finally got bounces, breaks and puck luck. All three had been missing prior to tonight and, in case you were unaware of it, any number of the players and coaches would’ve reminded you.

The Rangers also got Lundqvist’s first real lockdown performance of the Stanley Cup Final, which is perhaps the biggest development of them all.

  1. bills4 - Jun 11, 2014 at 11:28 PM

    Thats so great New York. The East is really starting to show their domination!! You won a game in the Finals……. Congrats!!!

    • afce22 - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:08 AM

      Listening to Lundqvist talk after this game, i’m not sure the Rangers have the confidence to win another game

      even though Rangers won this one I have to hand it to LA, I haven’t seen a team that can move the puck that quickly and effectively to create chances out of nothing in a long time.

      I give the Rangers almost no chance in the next game even though this series could easily be 2-2 right now

  2. hockeyfan28 - Jun 11, 2014 at 11:29 PM

    Hank was first…second…third…fourth….and fifth star….. on a side note Dan Girardi man good thing you signed your contract extension already cause you would lost some money after this series

    • stakex - Jun 11, 2014 at 11:33 PM

      Indeed, and its not just this series… he hasn’t been very good for most of the playoffs, or the season for that matter. I think there was something to all the talk about him not adapting to AV’s system well we heard early in the year, and that contract he signed very well might become an anchor is that’s true.

  3. dingo8yobaby24 - Jun 11, 2014 at 11:29 PM

    I expected the Rangers to win. L.A. wins game 5 at home.

  4. stakex - Jun 11, 2014 at 11:39 PM

    Well at this point, its just for pride. Things don’t start to get serious unless the Rangers can win in LA and force a game six. If that were to happen, all bets are off…. but even as a Rangers fan I concede that’s a huge if.

  5. nybadger - Jun 11, 2014 at 11:41 PM

    We definitely caught some luck today that in my opinion made up for Game 2 and last game. I now hope some of the idiots here that trash Hank see for what he is and what he brings to this game.
    I thoroughly enjoy watching the Kings play- what an awesome team! As much as I’m dying to win the Cup, it would be near impossible but I’m proud of how hard the Rangers have competed. One knock on the Kings is arguably their tendency to toy with the opponents and make their lives a lot harder than needed. I think we might be owed one at the Staples Center, we’ll see.
    One last thing here: why can’t people here give credit where it’s due??? Why do you need to trash the opposing teams, fans and players? Cheer on your team hard, but be a fan and not a fanatic. I guarantee you that the players on both teams respect each other and respect the game. The Kings go about things the right way and are an amazing team with talent across the board with the possible exception of the third defensive pairing. May the best team win and LETS GO RANGERS!!!

    • blomfeld - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:47 AM

      Fair comment friend and God bless …

      Nonetheless, I do take exception with your observation that we Kings “have a tendency to toy with the opponents and make their lives a lot harder than needed”. For that would constitute ‘malice’ which is something that will ‘never’ be a part of our enterprise ! On the contrary, ours is a ‘movement’ built on the ideals of fair play and decency. And in that context, I submit to you that we Kings will only do ‘that’ which is necessary in-order to achieve ‘final’ victory for the people … nothing more and nothing less.

      Truth be known, the fighting should have ended tonight, as we Kings ‘pressed home’ with our ‘glorious’ attacks to make it so. However ‘you’ people have defiantly chosen to prolong your agony (thanks Lundqvist) and therefore we will now have to ‘run you through’ at Staples this Friday … and God willing we will !

      MAKE WAY RANGERS, FOR A ‘KING’S’ ARMY WISHES TO PASS …

    • peymax1693 - Jun 12, 2014 at 9:15 AM

      In a perfect world, we would all respect one another and be able to give credit where credit is due.

      However, if there’s one thing I have learned in my 43 years it’s that people by nature can’t help but be DBs to one another.
      Hence, you get “sore loser” Rangers fans and, perhaps more sadly, “sore winner” Kings fans.

      Like you, I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Kings. What I don’t have respect for are those King fans who feel the need to disparage the Rangers and their fans. But I also realize that it just goes with the territory.

    • hrudey - Jun 12, 2014 at 11:53 AM

      The Rangers never quit, so definitely full credit to them for that. I wouldn’t say that last night was a case of the Kings playing with anything less than full effort, and definitely not toying – they just couldn’t get the puck to cross the goal line a second time and credit should be given to Lundqvist, the goal line itself it seems, and the Rangers who had the presence of mind to see the puck and get it back under Lundqvist before the Kings could get the stick on it.

  6. rocoop - Jun 11, 2014 at 11:45 PM

    Worst ice conditions I’ve ever seen, missed penalties,cupping the puck!!………………..Just kidding..Good game Rangers! GKG

    • zevkizz - Jun 11, 2014 at 11:57 PM

      If you watch the replay from the bench angle, the puck is never cupped. It is pushed twice by Stepan and then it is pushed by a ranger stick under the blocker.

      • hrudey - Jun 12, 2014 at 11:56 AM

        I haven’t seen the bench angle, but watching it last night I kind of came to the conclusion that it was unlikely he covered it anyhow, and even if he did, it’s still on the Kings to overcome that. They weren’t able to last night, they get another chance to finish it Friday, and hopefully they can.

  7. 950003cups - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:00 AM

    AV is right about the soft ice. LOLOL. They’re sealing up the windows and doors in LA right now and cranking up the AC. Lol

  8. sixchr - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:13 AM

    Lundqvist was going to steal one game for the Rangers this series. He stood on his head and they got a few breaks along the way. Series ends Friday.

    • peymax1693 - Jun 12, 2014 at 9:24 AM

      You make it seem like it was a foregone conclusion that the Kings would win the Series 4-1. Can you honestly say that you expected the Kings would let the Rangers get out to five (5) different 2 goal leads in the first 2 games, only to have the Kings rally to tie each game and then win both in OT and then rely on Quick to win Game 3?

      Whether you want to admit it or not, the two teams are so close that the Series could easily be tied 2-2 or even the Rangers being up 3-1.

      • hrudey - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:03 PM

        Can you honestly say that there’s ever been a point in a single game in the series where you’ve felt like, “That’s it, the Kings are done?” Maybe the last seconds last night? On the other hand, at pretty much any point in the middle of the second period on in game 3, did you ever think the Rangers were coming back?

        It’s not a foregone conclusion this ends tomorrow, though. But if the Rangers only path to victory is jumping out to an early lead and hoping that the Kings can’t battle back, no matter how good Lundqvist is, that’s not going to work out well in the long term.

      • peymax1693 - Jun 12, 2014 at 2:07 PM

        hrudey:

        My point was that sixchr was pretty smug saying he was right when he predicted the Kings would win in 5 games, especially considering how close he was to being proven wrong.

    • comeonnowguys - Jun 12, 2014 at 10:21 AM

      That’s the way the NHL playoffs go. You need those breaks. You know, like a bouncing puck that gets you into the Stanley Cup Finals. That stuff goes both ways.

  9. sailbum7 - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:03 AM

    Alhough the Kings would have liked the sweep, in some ways I think that they are just as happy to be going back to LA for game 5. I think that they like the idea of taking it back to LA so that the local fans can be part of it when they win the Stanley Cup again. Winning in front of the home crowd will make it that much sweeter for them.

  10. muckleflugga - Jun 12, 2014 at 8:51 AM

    bring it back rangers, make a series of it if for no other reason than to shut-up the likes of

    blomfeld, who is apparently doing life with the king and the kings and the king of kings …

    the kings he would have us believe have sold-out for his version of jesus christ amen hallelujah wow the spirit is really moving the values driven and decent folk of the crime-ridden coke-dealing gun-wielding gomorrah that is los angeles

    so yes, he will be taking prayer requests for both alexander ovechkin, an apparently godless but incredibly skilled hockey playing russian whose chief sin is being superior in talent to all of the los angeles kings in their entirety, and oprah winfrey, an outrageously rich and successful a ] person of colour and b ] woman whose chief sins are philanthropy and support of civil rights for all including the lgbt

    [ nothing offends right wing fundamentalist christers quite like the spawn of totalitarian communist regimes or anything black and wealthy or lgbt ]

    but video of either the tragically beautiful elvis who fell into disgraceful bloated and drug-induced decay while preferring the company of a harem of men, or film extolling virtues of nazism if there is such a thing, well hey …

    praise god from whom all blessings flow

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vFAax4qjTzY

  11. ironyisadeadscene - Jun 12, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    Canucks…..Rangers…what’s the diff

  12. eagles512 - Jun 12, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    Not sure I’d call getting outshot 15-1 in the 3rd a huge effort.

  13. brandotho - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    If the Rangers can manage to find a way to win this one back in LA, I like their chances. They’ve won their last eight elimination games at the Garden, and they’ve won their last five Game 7s

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