"We're down 3-0 (in the series). We're all lacking sleep. This is
tough," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told reporters at Tuesday's
somber practice. "I didn't expect my players today to be cheery and
New York trailed the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 in the Eastern
Conference semi-finals before rallying around grieving right-winger
Martin St. Louis, whose mother died during the series, to win three
elimination games in a row to advance.
Now the Blueshirts, who lost 3-0 at home on Monday following two
overtime losses in Los Angeles, need to win four straight, starting
with Wednesday's home game at Madison Square Garden, in order to
hoist the Stanley Cup for the first time in 20 years.
"Right now it's about one game," said Vigneault. "That's as simple
and logical and realistic as I can put it.
"If we want to continue to play, we have to win."
The Rangers face a Stanley Cup Final challenge so severe that only
the Toronto Maple Leafs of 72 years ago managed to escape with four
successive wins over the Detroit Red Wings after losing the first
"We're facing the same exact situation we were against Pittsburgh:
we lose, we're done. If we don't want to be done, we’ve got to win,"
the coach said.
New York lost the first two games of the best-of-seven series
despite holding two-goal leads in each.
At the Garden, they were victimised by two deflected goals,
including the first score of the game by Jeff Carter that came with
less than a second left in the first period that hit the Rangers
like a punch in the gut.
Despite trailing the series 3-0, the Rangers have been competitive
and believe they are a few unfortunate bounces away from leading the
Stanley Cup Final.
"I would say 70 percent of the goals have been deflected from our
guys or their guys," lamented Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who
described his mood as angry.
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"But it's part of the game. I feel like I'm in position. I feel like
I'm tracking the puck pretty good. But it hasn't been enough, so I'm
going to try to raise my level and try to help the team get the
first one tomorrow."
Defenseman Dan Girardi was an inadvertent contributer to the Kings'
momentum-shifting first goal when Carter's horn-beating shot changed
direction over Lundqvist's glove.
"I'm just laying down and the puck nicks off the heel of my blade
and that's exactly how the series is going for us right now, a
couple bad bounces," Girardi said. "At some point it's going to go
"We had a couple of good looks and just an inch higher and (the
puck) is in," he added, referring to Game Three near-misses by Mats
Zuccarello and Derick Brassard that were saved on a brilliant
shutout night by Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.
"That's kind of how the games have been."
Said Vigneault: "We've played some good hockey, but we haven't found
a way to win. Excuse us if today we're not real cheery. But tomorrow
I can tell you we're going to show up."
(Editing by Frank Pingue)
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