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Why the Rangers Should Be Even More Worried After Last Night

by Photo of Sam Cohen

The Rangers may have won the game, but their chances of winning the series remain slim to none

Why the Rangers Should Be Even More Worried After Last Night

The New York Rangers avoided a sweep Wednesday night as they edged out the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 in a hard fought, gritty game. With their backs agains the wall, the Rangers managed to squeak a couple goals past Jonathan Quick en route to their first Stanley Cup win in 20 years. The first goal came off of a Benoit Pouliot deflection and the second goal came courtesy of a rebounded shot that Martin St. Louis gathered and put past Quick. But other than those two goals, along with Ryan McDonagh's solid defensive game and Henrik Lundqvist's legendary performance in net, there were many more negatives for the Rangers than positives.

Before getting into how much better the Kings were, it is important to note that Henrik Lundqivst is the reason the Rangers stole last the game. He was brilliant, saving 40 of 41 shots while receiving continuous pressure throughout the game. His Rangers teammates kept turning the puck over in the neutral zone and in their own defensive zone, often leading to breakaways or odd-man rushes for the Kings. Yet, Lundqvist remained calm and poised, as he always is in net. He turned in one of the best Stanley Cup Finals performances ever. He actually had so much work to do around the net that the slush his skates created on the ice helped save this goal: 

The Rangers got off to a good start, playing a strong first period and starting off the second period well. After St. Louis' goal, however, there was nothing positive to take away. They continuously gave up the puck in the neutral zone, were dominated on the forecheck, and couldn't seem to gain possession of the puck. In fact, after St. Louis' goal, the Kings outshot the Rangers 27-6, including 15-1 in the last frame. They finished the game outshooting the Rangers 41-19. None of those numbers were typos. They won 63% of the faceoffs and killed the Rangers in time of possession. The Kings out-muscled, out-skated, and out-played the Rangers. Drew Doughty was a wizard defensively, Marian Gaborik had some great scoring chances, and Dustin Brown played a great all-around game, including this great goal:

That GIF sums up the game pretty well. It was essentially Lundqvist vs. the Kings from the mid-second period on. While almost every Kings player played well, the line of Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, and Tanner Pearson skated circles around the Rangers. Dubbed "That 70s Line" because all three players wear numbers in the 70s, this line had been the best line in the playoffs and showed how great they were last night. They worked great together and seemed to get to every puck using their speed and strength. According to extraskater.com, Cater, Toffoli, and Pearson were three of the top four possession players in Game 4. This has truly become one of the best lines in hockey. 

The Rangers escaped with the win, but nobody should be smiling besides Henrik Lundqvist. Game 4 was the worst I've seen the Rangers play in quite a while and from St. Louis' goal on, the Kings might have played the best hockey any team has played this season. While the Rangers finally had some luck on their side, they proved to be so outmatched that not even luck can help them win this series. 

The Kings are a much better team and while anything can happen, especially with Lundqvist in net, that game should have given the Rangers an idea of just how good the Kings are. Their chances of winning the cup may have mathematically increased, but the Kings beat the Rangers in almost every statistic. The Rangers got the win, but if the disparity is that glaring in Game 5, they might not be so lucky. 

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