The Los Angeles Kings dominated the ice on Wednesday, particularly in the second half of the
game, but it was the New York Rangers stayin' alive on Broadway to force a Game 5 on Friday night.
Has the inevitable been delayed or have we just been invited to the most magical comeback in NHL history?
The Los Angeles Kings entered Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final with a commanding 3-0 series lead and played their best game of the series, but the host New York Rangers were not quite ready to call it a day. Or a season, for that matter.
They are stayin alive! Stayin alive! Whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo stayin alive.
The Rangers are trying to become the second team in NHL history to fall behind 3-0 in the final and come back to win the Cup. The Toronto Maple Leafs did it in a series with the Detroit Red Wings in 1942, but that was when teams played two series in the playoffs and there wasn't quite the coast-to-coast travel today's players face.
A comeback from being down 3-0 this season would be a greater feat.
Los Angeles outshot New York 41-19 and twice were prevented from scoring goals from behind Henrik Lundqvist because of the lousy ice in Madison Square Garden due to a build-up of snow on the goal-line. Oh well, the Rangers have had their share of crappy luck in this series and for once the hockey gods gave them a wink.
Rangers' inspirational leader Martin St. Louis scored the winning goal and was asked what the inspiration was for the team to stay alive.
"Get a win," St. Louis said. "You know, obviously Hank [goalie Henrik Lundqvist] played tremendously well and we got the goals we needed tonight. We're staying alive."
St. Louis added there are 28 (eliminated) teams that would take being behind 3-0 in the Stanley Cup final and the Rangers are happy to be in a 3-1 series with a chance to win the Cup.
"There's no time to feel sorry for yourself; you just have to come [to the rink] to win," he said.
The Rangers failed to generate a quality scoring chance on their first power play at 5:23 of the opening period. That's no surprise; the Rangers entered the game 1-for-14 on the power play. However, two seconds after Kings defenceman Willie Mitchell was released from the penalty box for high-sticking Derek Dorsett of the Rangers, New York scored to take the early lead. Defenceman John Moore took a slap shot from the point that hit Los Angeles defender Jake Muzzin and then deflected in off New York's Benoit Pouliot.
Los Angeles left wing Marian Gaborik entered the game with 13 goals; two shy of Wayne Gretzky's franchise record of 15 in a playoff year. Gaborik had a great chance to pull within one of The Great One when he took a pass from Justin Williams 55 seconds into the second period and snapped a shot past Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. The shot hit the crossbar.
Marty makes his mark
St. Louis was frustrated through most of the first three games of the final, but checked back in at 6:27 of the second period when he tapped a loose puck in from close range to give New York a 2-0 lead.
Of course, the Kings being down by two is not exactly a bad thing. They seem to need to get to that stage of a game to wake up and that was the case in Game 4. When New York defenceman Dan Girardi's stick snapped in his hand he lost the puck and Dustin Brown got it and took off. Brown deked Lundqvist to his forehand and scored a short-handed goal to make it 2-1 at 8:46.
Asked after the second period by Scott Oake of Hockey Night in Canada why the Kings seem to need to be behind by two before kicking it into gear, Brown said, "It's one of those questions that if we had the answer you wouldn't be asking it."
Nash continues to flounder
Rick Nash of the Rangers continues to struggle: He played just 14:06 in his team's victory and made no impact on the New Your win.
On the first shift of the game Nash got the puck after some sloppy defensive play by the Kings defence and had a golden opportunity to drive to the net for a scoring chance. At six-foot-four and 213 pounds, you would think that would be a natural inclination. Instead, Nash passed the puck in front. Trouble was, he had no teammate waiting there. A wasted opportunity and great example why he has been his team's most disappointing player.
After serving his six-game suspension for abusing an official, New York left-winger Daniel Carcillo was eligible to play Wednesday night, but coach Alain Vigneault elected to go with the same lineup that had the Rangers trailing 3-0 in the series.
Mike BrophyMike Brophy brings a wealth of hockey writing and broadcasting experience to CBC Sports, having covered junior hockey for 14 years before joining The Hockey News as its senior writer for 17 years starting in 1992. Most recently, the Burlington, Ont., native worked as a writer/commentator at Rogers Sportsnet and as co-host of The Power Play on SiriusXM. Mike has written four books, including My First Goal, featuring 50 players describing their first NHL goals.