WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The New York Rangers' cross-country flight on Sunday may have felt much longer than five-and-a-half hours, especially after the Los Angeles Kings rallied for a 5-4 double-overtime victory in Game 2 on Saturday to take a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final.
But despite losing Games 1 and 2 at Staples Center, the Rangers sounded confident, some may say defiant, heading into Game 3 of the best-of-7 series Monday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
"In the last game, I thought we were the best team. Even in the first game, we had more quality chances than them," forward Mats Zuccarello said shortly after the Rangers arrived at Westchester County Airport. "We all do mistakes and sometimes it's going to cost us goals. But as a team we're confident and we all stick together. We have to win two at home to even the series."
The Rangers expect to benefit greatly from an MSG crowd that will be witnessing its first Cup Final game in 20 years. Considering where New York has come from this season, a 2-0 series deficit might not seem like such an insurmountable task.
The Rangers overcame a disastrous 3-7-0 start to the season and defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs despite trailing 3-1 in that series.
"Our confidence is there. I think if we keep playing the same way, we have a great chance to win. It's far from over," forward Derick Brassard said. "We came back from 3-1 against Pittsburgh. We proved we can come back against some good teams. We showed to ourselves that we can play with these guys. In both games it went to overtime and it could go either way. We're confident to come back here and excited to play in front of our home fans."
The Rangers did compete hard in the two games in Los Angeles, but they also blew a two-goal lead in each of those overtime losses. That's just one of the things Rangers coach Alain Vigneault will look to address when his team skates Monday. But with a difficult Game 2 loss still fresh in his memory, Vigneault couldn't help but address the Kings' ability to come back from a 4-2 deficit in the third period of Game 2. The rally started with a goal by Dwight King 1:58 into the period on which the Rangers believed King interfered with goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. King made contact with Lundqvist on the goal, but the scoring play was not overturned and no penalty was called.
"Their third goal, you can look at it any way you want but at the end of the day that shouldn't be a goal, in my opinion," Vigneault said. "They got three chances in the third, if you count that one, and two of them went in. Sometimes stuff like that happens. I believe it's going to even out and I believe we're going to win the next game."