Back in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in two decades
after Moore and St. Louis rebounded from personal grief to join
their team mates on a championship crusade, the Rangers trail the
Kings 0-1 in the best-of-seven series.
Los Angeles rallied from two goals down to win Wednesday's opener
3-2 in overtime and, with Game Two set for Saturday, center Moore is
well aware of the remarkable 'comeback' threat posed by New York's
"They are incredibly resilient," Moore, 33, told reporters about the
2012 Stanley Cup champions who this season became the first team
ever to reach the finals by winning three best-of-seven series that
went the distance.
"Some of their comebacks in series this year are self-evident of
that. They are just a team that knows how to find ways to win and
we've got a lot of respect for that. We always expected our toughest
"They are seasoned and they have won the Stanley Cup with a lot of
players on this (2014 Kings) team," added Moore, who has played for
nine different teams during his NHL career, including the Tampa Bay
Lightning where he got to know St. Louis.
The Kings had been on the brink of exiting the playoffs when
trailing San Jose 0-3 but stunningly fought their way through to the
finals by beating the Sharks, the Anaheim Ducks and the defending
champion Chicago Blackhawks.
However, the Rangers have also displayed a great deal of grit and
resilience en route to series wins against the Philadelphia Flyers
and Pittsburgh Penguins, both in seven games, and the Montreal
Canadiens, in six.
During their march to the final, they have developed increasingly
tight bonds, much of it following the personal tragedies experienced
by Moore and St. Louis.
Moore is in his first season back with the Rangers after a year-long
leave following the death of his wife, Katie, who succumbed to liver
cancer in Jan. 2013.
St. Louis' mother, France, died suddenly during the Eastern
Conference semi-finals against the favored Pittsburgh Pirates but
the Rangers, trailing 1-3 at that point, rallied around their
mourning team mate before going on to win the series.
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"You definitely think about that," Moore said of New York's ability
to gain emotional inspiration from personal grief. "Marty and I
obviously were close before and we played with each other in Tampa.
"We have always got along really well and we have obviously come
closer with the stuff that has happened to both of us.
"He was there for me a year or two ago and I think we have a pretty
strong bond because of that and because of the stuff that has
happened the last two months here."
Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault has been delighted to see Moore
and dynamic right wing St. Louis, who was acquired from Tampa Bay at
the trade deadline three months ago, find sanctuary on the ice and
become team leaders in the process.
"They've found refuge," said Vigneault. "They've found a way to find
a place where they can be happy, and that is at the rink with their
team mates and on the ice. They've both been very inspirational
leaders throughout the whole thing."
As for Saturday's Game Two, Vigneault promised that his team would
bring their "best game to the table" in a bid to level the series
"We're going to be ready tomorrow," he told reporters at Staples
Center in downtown Los Angeles on Friday. "Our guys need to manage
the puck better, we can play a faster game and that's been one of
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Ian Ransom)
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