The Los Angeles Kings have been in these shoes before. Just two years ago they were up 3-0 in the Stanley Cup Final against the New Jersey Devils and looked to complete the sweep. The Devils managed to win two games before L.A. bounced them out in six.
The New York Rangers would like to do what the Devils did and then some this time around, but things seem different this time around.
Game 4: New York Rangers vs. Los Angeles Kings [Los Angeles leads series 3-0] (8:00 p.m. ET — NBCSN)
Everything that could go wrong has for the Rangers in the Final.
When Henrik Lundqvist has played strong, the Kings have gotten the fortuitous bounces. When the offense has done well, the defense let them down. When they’ve established two-goal leads, they’ve only evaporated. So what’s left in Alain Vigneault’s bag of tricks? There’s at least one option.
Forward Daniel Carcillo is eligible to return for Game 4 and his presence may be needed to spark a little bit of life in his teammates. During yesterday’s press availability, the Rangers had the same feeling about them that a man headed for execution might. Doom, gloom, and a bleary future awaiting. With Carcillo’s six-game suspension up, perhaps a little new blood is what they need.
All of that may not mean much if Jonathan Quick plays the way he did in Game 3. His outstanding play on Monday night was the type of series-swinging thing New York didn’t need in a virtual must-win situation. Now they’ll look to Lundqvist to try and do the same the rest of the way.
Lundqvist has done it once before in these playoffs, just ask the Pittsburgh Penguins, but the Kings are a different kind of beast. Of the 11 goals scored by L.A. in this series, all of them have been scored by a different player. Stopping that kind of attack makes the Rangers’ task at hand all the more difficult.