Los Angeles Kings sniper Marian Gaborik admits it: returning to Madison Square Garden – in Game 3 of the 2014 Stanley cup Final, no less – is a big deal.
“Yeah, that gives you extra jump. It’s my first time coming back to the Garden after I got traded,” Gaborik said. “I’m going to see the Garden after all the renovations for the first time, as well. You know, they have great fans. They’re going to be supporting them. We’re going to come out hard.”
He hasn’t played a game at Madison Square Garden since he was a member of the New York Rangers on April Fool’s Day in 2013. The Rangers traded him to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2012-13, who then flipped him to the Kings before he got the chance to play a road game against New York.
Of course, Gaborik also mentions that he’s never met anyone who doesn’t enjoy playing at the famous arena, so perhaps the entire Kings team will get an “extra jump.” Justin Williams backs that thought up, for one.
“The Garden is one of my favorite places to play,” Williams said. “I know a lot of guys feel the same way, as well. It’s fun. Cup Final. Should be loud and exciting.”
During the regular season, the Rangers were 20-17-4 at home and 25-14-2 away while the Los Angeles Kings sported identical 23-14-4 marks at home and on the road. With all that in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising if a shift to Madison Square Garden doesn’t make a big difference on the ice.
Then again, considering the slender margin between victory and defeat so far in this series, a little extra jump could make a big difference.