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The New York Rangers will not be swept in the Stanley Cup Finals by the Los Angeles Kings. After a couple of close calls, the Rangers secured the victory in game four and are now heading back to Los Angeles for game five.
On Wednesday night, the Rangers won because their high profile players started playing hockey. Lundqvist made 40 of 41 saves, including 15 in the third period. Rick Nash didn’t receive a point, but his presence was known as he skated around the ice like a wrecking ball hitting ever King in his sight.
Martin St. Louis played a solid game, including scoring the game-winning goal. Meanwhile, Brad Richards didn’t have a chance to screw up as much because his minutes were cut down to 13:20.
“We definitely didn’t want to see the Cup come out on our ice. Just the thought of it makes me sick,” Lundqvist said, according to the NY Daily News. “A couple of close calls, but when you play this game ... sometimes you have to rely on your teammates and sometimes you have to rely on some luck.”
The luck he is referring to happened twice in the game when the puck squeaked past Lundqvist and stopped just before the goal line.
It was Anton Stralman who saved the game in the first period. He stopped Jeff Carter from tapping the puck in and then hit it between Lundqvist’s legs with his stick.
Next, it was Derek Stepan that saved the game in the third. The puck slid past Lundqvist and slowed down because of the snow on the ice only to stop just before the goal line. Stepan saw the puck and hit it off the goal line with his hand being careful not to cover the puck, as covering the puck with your hand is a penalty.
"It wasn't a pretty game; it was a pretty ugly game," Rangers forward Carl Hagelin said, notes USA Today. "But any time you can get a win in the playoffs, you're going to take it."
Something the Rangers must realize if they want any hope of winning the Cup is not to hit the brakes. Both games in LA started with the Rangers winning by two, then they stopped playing their game and switched to defense, but both times this allowed the Kings to come back. Even in game four, the Rangers only had one shot in the third period. They won the game, but that is not going to bring home a championship.