rangers avoid sweep in stanley cup finals

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  • Rangers avoid sweep in Stanley Cup finals

    NEW YORK - The champagne the Los Angeles Kings had ready for a coronation stayed in boxes. TheNew York Rangers suddenly have some life in the Stanley Cup finals.

    Henrik Lundqvist made 40 saves and had the Madison Square Garden crowd chanting his name inthe Rangers' 2-1 victory in Game 4 that kept the Los Angeles Kings from a sweep on Wednesdaynight.

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

    "It doesn't mean a whole lot," Los Angeles forward Anze Kopitar said. "We wanted to close it outtonight, and we weren't able to do it. Now we have a desperate team coming into our building."

    Los Angeles hoped to become the first team since 1998 to complete a sweep in the finals. TheRangers will try to be the second team to erase a 3-0 hole in the finals and go on to win the Cup.

    The Kings had that kind of comeback in the first round against San Jose.

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

    The Kings were in this exact spot in the 2012 finals. They took a 3-0 lead over New Jersey andneeded six games to finally knock out the Devils.

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

    Pouliot scored 7:25 into the first period and St. Louis added a goal in the second. New Yorksquandered 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 inthe 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 period and outshot the Rangers 15-1 in the frameand 41-19 overall.

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

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

    St. Louis then put in a rebound at the left post 6:27 into the second, giving the Rangers their fifthtwo-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 lostthe 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 tomake it 2-1 with 11:13 left in the second.