Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Rangers beat Kings in Game 4, stay alive in Cup final

NEW YORK — The champagne the Kings had ready for a coronation stayed in boxes. The Rangers suddenly have some life in the Stanley Cup final.

Henrik Lundqvist made 40 saves and had the Madi­son Square Garden crowd chanting his name in New York's 2-1 victory in Game 4 that kept Los Angeles from sweeping it Wednesday.

Benoit Pouliot and Marty St. Louis scored for the Rangers. Los Angeles leads the series 3-1 and gets its second shot Friday at home to claim the Cup for the second time in three years.

Los Angeles hoped to become the first team since 1998 to complete a sweep in the final. Now New York is trying to become the second team to erase a 3-0 hole in the final and win.

The Kings had that kind of comeback in the first round this season against the Sharks .

"It's not impossible," Lund­qvist said. "They've done it."

Twice, Los Angeles put the puck on the goal line but couldn't get it all the way across. The second came with 1:11 left in the game when Rangers forward Derek Stepan pushed the puck out of danger in the crease after it got behind Lundqvist.

Pouliot scored 7:25 into the game, and St. Louis added a goal in the second. New York squandered multiple two-goal advantages in losing the first two games in overtime in Los Angeles.

Not this time.

Lundqvist and the Rangers continued their mastery of extending their seasons. New York is 11-2 in the past 13 games when facing elimination, and Lundqvist was in goal for all of them.

The Rangers also have won an NHL-record eight consecutive home games when facing elimi­nation, dating to 2008, behind Lundqvist.

The Kings pressed for the tying goal in the third. They outshot the Rangers 15-1 in the period and 41-19 overall.

"I think we sat back a little too much in the third period," Stepan said. "But we didn't blow the lead this time."

Two nights after Jonathan Quick stopped 32 shots in a 3-0 victory that put the Kings on the brink of another championship, Pouliot got a puck past him.

The Kings almost tied it with 8:11 left — seconds into a power play — when defenseman Alec Martinez's shot got behind Lund­qvist and slid along the goal line. Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman cleared the puck away as Jeff Carter and Marian Gaborik pressured in the crease.

Video replay clearly showed the puck didn't go over the line.

St. Louis put in a rebound at the left post 6:27 into the second, giving the Rangers their fifth two-goal lead of the series. But just like in Games 1 and 2, a two-goal deficit sparked the Kings.

At the tail end of a Rangers power play, New York defenseman Dan Girardi broke his stick and lost the puck to Kings captain Dustin Brown for a breakaway the other way.

Brown made several moves in front of Lundqvist before tucking a forehand inside the right post to make it 2-1 with 11:13 left in the second.

Late in the second, Lundqvist denied Carter on a breakaway.

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