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King Henrik saves the Rangers, who ‘get another chance to play’

Jun 12, 2014, 12:25 AM EST

2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Four Getty Images

NEW YORK — Derek Stepan didn’t want anyone to “fool” themselves. Yes, the New York Rangers beat the Los Angeles Kings. Yes, they finally got some puck luck. And yes, they’re still alive in the Stanley Cup Final. But if not for Henrik Lundqvist, this thing would be over. The Kings would be champs for the second time in three years, and they’d have celebrated on the ice at Madison Square Garden.

“Hank stood on his head,” said Stepan. “He made some big saves at big times for us. Those are the big plays we need at certain moments to keep the momentum or shift the momentum. Hank stood tall and he’s a big part of why we’re going back to L.A.”

Mats Zuccarello took it one step further: “We probably play our worst game of the series and we win.”

Added Dan Girardi: “It was pretty self-explanatory out there. He was the King tonight for us, making huge saves when he had to.”

As for the man himself?

“Well, I felt good tonight,” Lundqvist said. “I must say, I felt pretty good in every game. It’s just tonight, we had the bounces. We talked about it the first couple games where, you know, especially against this team, you need that little extra puck luck. They play a lot around the net, a lot of deflections, screens. Sometimes it’s going to hit you and sometimes it’s not. You have to keep telling yourself you’re doing the right things. So that’s what I did.”

Lundqvist made 40 saves on the night, including 15 in the third period when his teammates managed just one on the other guy. Only Kings captain Dustin Brown could beat “the King” in Game 4, on a breakaway (thanks to Girardi’s broken stick) in the second period that made it 2-1 for the home side.

That’s right — if not for their star goalie, the Rangers, in all likelihood, would’ve blown their third 2-0 lead of the series.

“Yeah, I’m not going to lie. The first thought was, ‘Here we go again,'” said Lundqvist. “I guess the important thing was to respond the right way. They had a couple chances right after to make saves right away.”

“He had to make some huge saves in the second and the third,” said coach Alain Vigneault. “He got and we got a few bounces. You need those. Maybe the luck is changing a little bit. … We get another chance to play. We’re going to be ready for it.”

The challenge, obviously, remains immense. The Rangers still need to win three more — two on the road — without a loss. And the Kings are still the Kings. They’ve been through this before. Nobody’s expecting them to panic.

“We’re going back home, that’s where we won it last time,” said Drew Doughty. “Hopefully we can do the same thing again.”

And they’ll be favored to do just that on Friday at Staples Center. But with Lundqvist, and a little luck, there’s that sliver of hope for the Blueshirts.

“He just competes,” said Stepan. “That’s one thing I’ve learned about Hank, that he never seems to stop competing. He loves to win and he hates to lose.”

“We have to believe,” said Rick Nash. “You got to have faith and you have to believe in your system and in our process. It’s so cliché, but we just have to play it game by game and just worry about another win.”

  1. nightfireop - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:36 AM

    as a kings fan, henrik did a phenomenal job tonight. alot of those kings chances would have been runaway goals if it were any other goaltender.

    at last, the REAL rangers show up. now we can have a series :)

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

      This was the worst game the rangers played all series…

      • billiam55 - Jun 12, 2014 at 9:29 AM

        but one of the best by Lundqvist.

      • fpstratton - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        Ironically, yes, but maybe all is fair. The Rangers really deserved to come out of L.A. tied at one game a piece, so it really should be 3-1 by now. Lundqvist can’t carry them forever, but there are only three games left in this series. John VanBiesbrouck almost carried the Florida Panthers over the talent-laden Avalanche in 1996. He was spectacular every game. Goaltenders can take you pretty far, and if Lundqvist has found his groove, the Kings may yet win the series, but he will put them through hell before they do. He’s that good. Friday will be interesting. Edge to Kings, but the margin is not as big as some people think.

  2. blomfeld - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:36 AM

    “And the Kings are still the Kings” … Jason Brough

    As sure as a full moon is now upon us, come Friday God’s will shall prevail at Staples ! :)

    GO KINGS GO !!! … TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOREVER !!!!!!

    • phtjoey - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:39 PM

      Many marvel at the Rangers’ ability to stay alive, but even in defeat the Kings dominated them by out shooting them 41 to 19. That sucks if you’re a Rangers’ fan. How does it go? GO KINGS GO !!! … TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOREVER !!!!!!

      • blomfeld - Jun 12, 2014 at 10:37 PM

        You said it perfectly friend ! :)

        GO KINGS GO !!! … TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOREVER !!!!!!!!!!!

        Joey & Blomfeld: a couple of great guys who ‘know the deal’ when it comes to hockey !

  3. revskip - Jun 12, 2014 at 3:22 AM

    Hank once again great in an elimination game. Would be nice if he could get up for non-elimination games though. Might have to face fewer of the former if he could win more of the latter.

  4. phtjoey - Jun 12, 2014 at 5:30 AM

    Is Lundqvist the REAL deal? Can he stand on his head again? Had he played like an MVP every game the Rangers would be leading the series or at the least they would be tied.

    • 7mantel - Jun 12, 2014 at 8:11 AM

      Why the name change ?

      • blomfeld - Jun 12, 2014 at 10:40 PM

        likely because of that jerk who recently started to ‘electronically’ stalk our friend Joey …

  5. kangarooparm - Jun 12, 2014 at 8:00 AM

    It’s nice Henrik played awesome but you can’t give up that many chances next game. The kings were dominant and the rangers were passive. Can’t be that tilted, the goal line can only be a force field for so long.

  6. muckleflugga - Jun 12, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    there is nothing so numbingly pedantic as holy rollers like blomfeld exploiting every opportunity to promote a belief system wherein the universe is held to be eight thousand years beyond the sixth day of its creation

    and every event including millionaires playing a kid’s game called hockey from that great day forward is somehow the will of a great mythical phantasmagorical omnipotent being that is superior to all the other great mythical phantasmagorical omnipotent beings engendering hate war murder and famine through if nothing else, mind numbing repetition …

    holy roller novocaine

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

    • blomfeld - Jun 12, 2014 at 11:21 AM

      DON’T EVER LET FLUGGA SEE YOUR CAR BREAK DOWN !

      Friend, you seem to have become ‘Joe Serious’ of late and that’s a shame. Anyway, let me put on my own ‘serious’ hat here for a minute and break it down for you like this. For us Kings fans, this has been one ‘magical’ ride for sure … especially when you think back to us starting the playoffs as the WC’s 6th seed and all. Now however we’re in the enviable position of needing just one more win to take the Stanley Cup and you just gotta love that man ! :) Like many others though, I’m still not going to exhale here until the final buzzer is heard with us on top. Friday at Staples is more or less ‘everything’ for us, as a Ranger win there will change the entire landscape of this series … no two ways about. Anyway, I better go now as my phone is ringing and I think it’s the man ‘upstairs’ calling me again … :)

      GO KINGS GO !!!!

      YOU’RE GONNA HELP US FLUGGA !!!!!!

  7. billiam55 - Jun 12, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    And thats why we call him the King.

  8. thegronk87 - Jun 12, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    People have to stop calling him the King. He’s king of…nothing. All he’s won is an eastern conference championship.

    • stepanup - Jun 12, 2014 at 10:13 AM

      And a Gold Medal.

      • blomfeld - Jun 12, 2014 at 11:29 AM

        If the Rangers win this thing (God forbid) then trust me, I’ll be the first person to call Henrik the ‘King’ of all Kings ! In fact, he’ll go right to the number # 1 spot on my listing of famous Kings, even above Elvis ! :)

      • thegronk87 - Jun 12, 2014 at 11:42 AM

        Thanks to good players like Lidstrom, etc.

      • stepanup - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:16 PM

        And the other teams in the competition didnt have other world class players? You’re a joke Gronk.

    • billiam55 - Jun 12, 2014 at 7:35 PM

      sorry to bust ur bubble, but hockey isnt tennis or golf. its a team sport. hes always been one of the best players on the rangers.

  9. papajack1259 - Jun 12, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    To little to late quick actually played far better then Henrik. You will not see the puck sit on the line a third time LA opens all the stops and takes game 5 …4-0 the king is done

  10. thegronk87 - Jun 12, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    The $$$$$$$ won because of the bad garden ice, which has been like that for years.

    • doknyc - Jun 12, 2014 at 11:42 AM

      groonk,

      dont you have anything better to do than rip on everything NY? like play in traffic perhaps, or shuck some wicked oystuhs, or be a wicked pissah in southie?

      and now we know why NY hates botson.. its simply their IQ is about 100 points lower than ours…

      • thegronk87 - Jun 12, 2014 at 11:44 AM

        Yet I know how to spell “Boston” …

    • fpstratton - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:16 PM

      From a Kings fan, the bad ice can’t be used as an excuse….this time of year, most ices are pretty lame. That’s June hockey…deal with it.

      • thegronk87 - Jun 12, 2014 at 2:41 PM

        The garden is is like that year round. NY is not a hockey town so they don’t bother with better ice.

      • stepanup - Jun 12, 2014 at 2:58 PM

        And the ice conditions couldn’t possibly be caused by the challenges of being 6 stories up.

    • doknyc - Jun 12, 2014 at 1:43 PM

      and there’s your argument, a typo?

      keep being wicked smaht… and go eat your chowdeah…

      i swear, boston is the shelbyville of the USA…

      • thegronk87 - Jun 12, 2014 at 2:39 PM

        You’re the dummy who said I had a lower IQ when you can’t even spell basic words.

  11. papajack1259 - Jun 12, 2014 at 7:07 PM

    We all love our teams, and when challenged as a fan we react, I would not want to be a Rangers fan in this series two blown two goal leads and a shutout would tick me off. But I would support my team till the clock read 0:00
    Our hearts sometime guide our support LA will come out blazing this Fri. If and it’s a big if the Rangers (Henrik) hold off and win…..everything changes…personally I do not see that happening….and I live in Southie….

  12. ducksk - Jun 12, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    Still the king of nothin…

  13. papajack1259 - Jun 13, 2014 at 7:30 AM

    Let’s say the Kings come out and pump 4 quick goals in bye 15 min mark of the second would u pull Henrik?

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