Los Angeles leads the best-of-seven series, 3-1.
The Kings had a chance to win the Stanley Cup for the second time in three seasons in Game 4 on Wednesday. They outshot New York, 41-19, but the Rangers won 2-1 to stay alive.
1. Will Kopitar ever score another goal?
And if he does, is he the perfect choice for the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP?
Anze Kopitar leads the post-season in scoring with 26 points in 25 games, but the big Slovenian centre hasn't scored a goal in 11 games and has just one goal in 18 games. That said, Kopitar has performed at a high level, supplying the Kings with excellent two-way play and against some of the best centres -- Joe Thornton, Ryan Getzlaf, Jonathan Toews -- in the league along the way. Kopitar was held without a shot in Game 4, despite playing 20:28 minutes. If Kopitar snaps his goalless drought, he will most certainly be a prime candidate to win the Conn Smythe. His main competition for the award comes from teammates Justin Williams, Drew Doughty and Marian Gaborik.
2. Can Lundqvist steal another game?
With a little help from the snow on the goal-line at Madison Square Garden, Henrik Lundqvist was the difference in Game 4 as the Kings tossed 41 shots his way and he turned 40 of them aside. You can bet the Kings will be super-motivated to end the season Friday and avoid another cross-country flight to New York. So once again, King Henrik will be under the gun. There have been times in the final when Lundqvist has come a little unglued, like when a shot bounces off a teammate and past him or he is interfered with and unable to make a save. Yet he was totally composed in Game 4 and will need to remain level-headed in Game 5. Lundqvist is a big reason why the Rangers are 5-0 when facing elimination in this year's playoffs. In fact, since Game 6 of the 2012 conference quarter-finals, the Rangers are 11-2 when facing elimination with Lundqvist sporting a 1.30 goals-against average and a .959 save percentage.
3. Are Kings becoming a dynasty?
Compared to the Montreal Canadiens, who have won five straight Stanley Cups (1956-60) and four straight Cups (1976-79), probably not. Even compared to the New York Islanders, who won four Cups in a row (1980-83) and the Edmonton Oilers, who won four Cups in five years in the mid-eighties, again, most likely not. In the salary-cap era, it has become increasingly difficult for one team to dominate year after year. That said, the Kings have been a powerhouse team for three straight years now, winning the Cup in 2012 and losing in the conference final last season. If they win the Cup this season and then have another great year in 2014-15? Then, yes, the conversation about being a dynasty will be legitimate. The core of the Kings is young and just entering the primes of their careers, so it is not a stretch to suggest the Kings will be a Stanley Cup contender for the next few seasons.
Projected lineup for Los Angeles
Dustin Brown -- Anze Kopitar -- Marian Gaborik
Tanner Pearson -- Jeff Carter -- Tyler Toffoli
Dwight King -- Jarret Stoll -- Justin Williams
Kyle Clifford -- Mike Richards -- Trevor Lewis
Jake Muzzin -- Drew Doughty
Alec Martinez -- Matt Greene
Willie Mitchell -- Slave Voynov
Projected lineup for New York
Carl Hagelin -- Brad Richards -- Martin St. Louis
Chris Kreider -- Derek Stepan -- Rick Nash
Benoit Pouliot -- Derick Brassard -- Mats Zuccarello
Brian Boyle -- Dominic Moore -- Derek Dorsett
Ryan McDonagh -- Dan Girardi
Marc Staal -- Anton Stalman
John Moore -- Kevin Klein
Follow Mike Brophy on Twitter @HockeyBroph
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