It’s not an easy thing to either sweep or be swept in the Stanley Cup Finals, and that’s because both teams are usually there for a reason.
There will be no sweep in this series, either.
The New York Rangers, who are currently holding onto these Finals by the skin of their teeth, managed to put the L.A. Kings’ broom back in its closest while booking a return trip to southern California in the process.
Benoit Pouliot struck first for the home-standing Blueshirts in the opening period, and Martin St. Louis doubled the score in the second before Kings captain Dustin Brown halved that lead soon after.
But Brown’s goal was the only tally the Kings could manage on this night, as the Rangers would survive a 41-shot onslaught to emerge victorious in a game that ended 2-1.
The Rangers twice had potential scores swept away from the goal line that might have ended their season had they not been. But ‘would haves’ and ‘should haves’ mean nothing. All that counts is the end result.
There are many who think that perhaps the Rangers shouldn’t be here; that maybe if the Canadiens’ Carey Price wasn’t unceremoniously taken out of Montreal’s lineup, it’d be the Habs facing the Kings for the Cup in 2014.
But it really doesn’t matter now. The Rangers are here, the Habs are not, and as long as there is still one game left to be played, there is a Finals that can be won.
The rules state that the winner of Lord’s Stanley Cup must capture four games before its opponents do. The Rangers now have one win in the bag. With two of the remaining three games in Los Angeles, can they get three more before the Kings get one?
Overcoming an 0-3 deficit against a higher-seeded adversary is unlikely; but it’s not impossible. If you don’t believe me, ask the Los Angeles Kings, who did it earlier in these very playoffs.
Whether the Rangers can continue their Cup quest, or the Kings celebrate their rings in front of their fans, will be determined at the conclusion of Game 5 in Los Angeles Friday night.