Skip to content

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

Jun 12, 2014, 12:25 AM EDT

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.”

Latest Posts
  1. NHL stars help raise $140K in ‘Smashfest’ charity ping-pong tournament

    Jul 26, 2014, 12:05 PM EDT

    seguinmdz

    Dominic Moore spearheaded it, but Stephane Veilleux dominated.

  2. Brassard, Rangers about $1.1M apart in arbitration requests

    Jul 26, 2014, 10:54 AM EDT

    2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Three Getty Images

    The player wants $4.95 million; New York argues for $3.825 million.

  3. Hurricanes sign Bellemore to one year, two-way deal

    Jul 26, 2014, 10:08 AM EDT

    Carolina Hurricanes v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    He was one of the team’s most frequent hitters in 2014-15.

  4. Walker, first Australian ever drafted, signs with Capitals

    Jul 26, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Washington-Capitals-logo

    Nathan Walker spent the 2013-14 campaign in the AHL.

  5. Top prospect Virtanen signs with Canucks

    Jul 25, 2014, 10:46 PM EDT

    Jake Virtanen AP

    Vancouver took him with the sixth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

  6. NHL veteran Jason Williams returning to North America

    Jul 25, 2014, 9:38 PM EDT

    Jason Williams Getty Images

    He signed with the AHL Oklahoma City Barons.

  7. Moser wants pay raise to stick with Preds

    Jul 25, 2014, 7:23 PM EDT

    Simon Moser Getty Images

    He’s a restricted free agent, but might end up returning to Switzerland.

  8. Gillis’ daughter: Criticism was hard to ignore

    Jul 25, 2014, 6:17 PM EDT

    Mike Gillis AP

    In a way, she played a role in him working for the Canucks.

  9. Leafs re-sign Reimer — two years, $4.6 million

    Jul 25, 2014, 5:12 PM EDT

    DETROIT, MI - MARCH 18: James Reimer #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates back to the net after a time out during the second period of the game against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on March 18, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Red Wings defeated the Maple Leafs 3-2. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) Getty Images

    He lost the starting job to Jonathan Bernier last season.

  10. Flames ’14 first-rounder Bennett signs entry-level deal

    Jul 25, 2014, 4:05 PM EDT

    Sam Bennett Getty Images

    He was taken with the fourth overall pick.

  11. Fedotenko’s goal ‘is to play in the NHL next year,’ says agent

    Jul 25, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Ruslan Fedotenko #26 of the Philadelphia Flyers clears the puck in the third period against the New York Rangers on March 5, 2013 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.The New York Rangers defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2.
(March 4, 2013 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

    Two-time Stanley Cup winner played last season with KHL club HC Donbass.

  12. Gorges still can’t explain falling out of favor in Montreal

    Jul 25, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    joshgorgesgetty Getty Images

    “I wish I had a really good answer — where this came from and why, and how it came about — but I don’t, to be honest.”

  13. Coyotes have high hopes for Gagner after ‘tough couple of years’ in Edmonton

    Jul 25, 2014, 1:01 PM EDT

    Edmonton Oilers v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    “We’re hoping the change of scenery is going to do him good.”

  14. Habs’ St. Pierre heads back to KHL

    Jul 25, 2014, 12:09 PM EDT

    MartinStPierre Getty Images

    But not before having played his first NHL game since 2009-10.

  15. Methot’s new deal with Sens ‘going to be multi-year’

    Jul 25, 2014, 11:11 AM EDT

    MarcMethot Getty Images

    “It’s a fairly simple one because Marc wants to be here,”

  16. Detroit re-signs Ferraro: one year, $550,000

    Jul 25, 2014, 10:13 AM EDT

    LandonFerraro Getty Images

    The 32nd overall pick at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Featured video

Bettman hears the boos in Philly
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Crosby (1806)
  2. L. Stempniak (1688)
  3. R. O'Reilly (1618)
  4. C. Franson (1538)
  5. D. Roy (1479)
  1. D. Booth (1389)
  2. A. Rome (1305)
  3. M. Zuccarello (1204)
  4. C. Kreider (1201)
  5. J. Demers (1126)