Los Angeles Kings vs. New York Rangers: Biggest Takeaways from Game 4
The New York Rangers will live to play another game as they avoided elimination in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final with a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings at Madison Square Garden Wednesday, per CBC.
The Rangers were badly outplayed at times—especially in the third period—but the Blueshirts managed to gain their first win in the series.
Though the Kings hold a 3-1 series lead, there is now hope in Gotham City, where there was little even just a day ago.
Let's take a look at the biggest takeaways from Game 4.
Rangers Got Most of the Bounces
The Rangers hadn't had much luck coming into Game 4. That changed in the first period with Benoit Pouliot's tip-in goal off of a John Moore point shot.
With how well Jonathan Quick has been playing since Game 2, this was the type of goal the Rangers were going to need to turn the tide.
By creating traffic in front of Quick, the Rangers managed to create some positive circumstances. It wasn't a pretty goal, but no Rangers fan was going to critique the 1-0 lead.
Pouliot and Anton Stralman also helped out Lundqvist by sweeping away pucks the goaltender had lost track of at different points in the game.
The Rangers could use more of the same in Game 5 in Los Angeles Friday.
"That '70s Line" Was Dynamite
As the series has worn on, it is clear the Kings' trio dubbed "That '70s Line" is gaining traction.
Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson have played some inspired hockey throughout the playoffs. They are not alone in this high level of play for the Kings, but they have become dominant against the Rangers.
They were three of the top four possession players in Game 4, per Extraskater.com. All three skaters were above 55 percent in five-on-five Corsi percentage.
The line has speed, size and skill. If it wasn't for Henrik Lundqvist's amazing display in Game 4, the line would have had multiple goals.
The Rangers will need to key on them as the series continues.
Martin St. Louis Left His Mark
Martin St. Louis had been awfully quiet in the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final. That changed in Game 4.
St. Louis scored the game-winning goal and played very well in all three zones.
The explosive winger had three shots on goal and registered one hit. He was buzzing on a number of shifts.
St. Louis is experienced enough to know that this could be his final chance to hoist the Stanley Cup. The Rangers have a long road ahead of them to do that, but St. Louis' play in Game 4 will help inspire his teammates that it can be done.
The Kings Need to Stay the Course
There will be no chance that the Kings will panic following this game. Why should they?
Of course the club will be disappointed to have to return to Los Angeles without the Stanley Cup in hand, but they carried much of the play in Game 4.
The official shot count was 41-19 in their favor.
They controlled the play for long stretches and were at their best in the third period. The Kings fired 15 shots at Lundqvist and allowed only one shot on Quick in the final stanza.
If Los Angeles can match this output in Game 5, it will be very difficult for the Rangers to extend this series to a sixth game.
King Henrik Ruled
Ryan McDonagh had a brilliant game and played over 28 minutes. While that was a great storyline, it was easily topped by Lundqvist's stellar play.
Lundqvist was at his best in the third period. He didn't keep the Kings from scoring single-handedly, but it was pretty close.
He thwarted all of the Kings' chances in stopping 15 shots when the Rangers needed him the most.
In all, he stopped 40 of 41 shots for a .976 save percentage.
Needless to say, anything less than Lundqvist's best in Game 4 would have meant an appearance by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to present the Stanley Cup to Los Angeles.
Kings Were Average Until They Were Down
Once again, the Kings didn't come out playing at their best. Unsurprisingly, the Rangers got off to a good start with the knowledge that their playoff lives depended on it.
The Kings did outshoot the Rangers in the first period, but a number of those shots were from the perimeter.
The Rangers were up 2-0 early in the second before Dustin Brown took advantage of a fortuitous bounce and cut the lead in half.
The Kings were the much better team once they were down. Following the St. Louis goal, they outshot the Rangers by a 27-6 margin.
Los Angeles has the confidence of knowing they can respond when down, but they could make it much easier on themselves by scoring early.
The Kings will want to get to a quick start in Game 5.
The more life the Rangers can gain, the more opportunity there will be for them to begin believing they can do their best Kings impression and come all the way back from a 3-0 series deficit.
All stats can be found on NHL.com unless noted otherwise.