Whether you like reading this or not the reality remains the same, the New York Rangers are in a 0-3 hole to the Los Angeles Kings thanks in large part to their own play. For game 3 there can’t be any complaints about the officiating as they were more favored towards the Rangers.
No the sad reality is the Rangers didn’t get the job done and have themselves to blame for it. Goals that went in for the Kings off Ranger players, the inability to get anything past King’s goalie Jonathan Quick (who was pretty good not to take anything away from him) no matter what kind of shot or situation.
The Rangers had plenty of chances to score but they just couldn’t finish plays and going 0 for 6 on the power play was a huge reason why they are in this hole. There were players who were working hard like Mats Zuccarello along with his linemates Derek Brassard and Benoit Pouliot and even Rick Nash.
But at the end of the day the Rangers did themselves in as their shot blocking was a cause of their problems like Dan Girardi’s skate deflecting Jeff Carter’s shot just enough to beat Henrik Lundqvist with 0.7 seconds left in the first period. The Rangers to nobody’s surprise had failed to score on a power play and maybe were already mentally heading to the locker room as the clock was winding down.
Give Jeff Carter a ton of credit for keeping on going and playing until the buzzer as that really summed up the biggest difference between the 2 teams. Forget that the Rangers would hold the Kings to 10 shots over the 2nd and 3rd periods as the Kings would score off a shot that may have hit Marty St. Louis for their 2nd goal.
The Kings 3rd goal was an attempted pass that hit Ryan McDonagh and bounced right back to Mike Richards who promptly put it past Lundqvist for a 3-0 lead. The Kings beat the Rangers mentally all night long and maybe a strong case can be made for the Rangers finally running out of gas after playing 3 emotionally charged series.
It is a fair question to ask and at the same time, there will be no shame in losing this series as nobody in their right mind could have seen the Rangers in the Stanley Cup finals this season. But they got here and trust me from experience in watching them lose 2 other finals that as a fan, it will hurt whether it is 4 games or 7 games.
Game 4 will be a test of character for the Rangers as they either throw everything they have left at the Kings or they raise the white flag and surrender. The fans (some of them at least) still believe but do the Rangers?