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Desperate Rangers plan to stay the course vs. Kings

by Tal Pinchevsky

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers trail the Los Angeles Kings 3-0 in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Final entering Game 4 Wednesday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). But the Rangers aren't looking to change much as they begin the long road back from a very deep hole.

"I think we just need to keep doing what we're doing," forward Carl Hagelin said after practice Wednesday. "There are a few mistakes in our own end that we can fix. Other than that it's just a matter of scoring timely goals. That's what they've been good at all series. It's time for us to do that [Wednesday]."

Timely goals would be nice, but any scoring at all would be a pleasant turnaround for the Rangers. New York hasn't found the back of the net since Derick Brassard gave the Rangers a 4-2 lead with 5:10 remaining in the second period of Game 2. That's a span of 115:36 without a goal, although the shots and scoring chances have been there. New York outshot the Kings 32-15 in Game 3, including a 13-1 run immediately following a Jake Muzzin power-play goal that gave Los Angeles a 2-0 lead 4:17 into the second period. The Kings eventually won 3-0 to gain a stranglehold on the series.

With their season hanging in the balance, the Rangers aren't going to change their attack too much.

"It's not that we're not generating chances," defenseman Anton Stralman said. "We had 22 scoring chances the other night. That's a pretty good stat. It's just a matter of putting the puck in. That's what we need right now. It's a new day today. The sun came up. We just have to approach this game as best we can. Prepare ourselves and put a strong game out there."

One change the Rangers may consider could be adding forward Daniel Carcillo to the lineup. He served the final game of his six-game suspension in Game 3 of the Cup Final and is eligible to play. Carcillo originally was assessed a 10-game ban for making contact with linesman Scott Driscoll during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final, but the suspension was on appeal.

Carcillo said after practice Wednesday he had no idea if he would be added to the lineup for Game 4.

"I don't really know what's happening, so I don't want to speak to what-ifs," Carcillo said. "It's not easy. You play the whole year and your whole life to get into this situation. You want to be playing. But you just have to be a good teammate and do what you can to stay ready."

Coach Alain Vigneault sat out New York's optional skate Wednesday, as did starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who took the morning off after participating in an optional skate Tuesday; Jason Missiaen took his place in practice. Other skaters who stayed off the ice were defensemen Marc Staal and Ryan McDonagh and forwards Brad Richards and Dominic Moore. All of them are expected to play Wednesday.

Scoring goals and reducing turnovers will be a top priority for the Rangers in Game 4. But their main motivation is to avoid becoming the first team to be swept in a Stanley Cup Final since the 1998 Washington Capitals.

"We just want to win one game," Hagelin said. "After that we can start focusing on other stuff. Right now we don't want to get swept. [Game 4 is] all about will. We've got to want it more than them. They obviously have a good opportunity to win it all now. We've just got to make sure we come out there and work as hard as we can and execute hard. It's time for us."

Here are the projected lineups for Game 4:


Dustin Brown - Anze Kopitar - Marian Gaborik

Tanner Pearson - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli

Dwight King - Jarret Stoll - Justin Williams

Kyle Clifford - Mike Richards - Trevor Lewis

Jake Muzzin - Drew Doughty

Willie Mitchell - Slava Voynov

Alec Martinez - Matt Greene

Jonathan Quick

Martin Jones

Scratched: Robyn Regehr, Colin Fraser, Jeff Schultz, Jordan Nolan


Rick Nash - Derek Stepan - Chris Kreider

Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Martin St. Louis

Benoit Pouliot - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello

Dominic Moore - Brian Boyle - Derek Dorsett

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Anton Stralman

John Moore - Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

David LeNeveu

Scratched: Raphael Diaz, Daniel Carcillo, Justin Falk, Jesper Fast, J.T. Miller

Injured: Cam Talbot (undisclosed)

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