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Rangers don't want to get swept on home ice by Kings

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist pauses to rest during

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist pauses to rest during an optional practice for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, June 10, 2014. Credit: AP / Kathy Willens

Only once has an opposing captain raised the Stanley Cup on the Rangers' home ice.

In 1972, Bruins left wing Johnny Bucyk hoisted the historic chalice and skated off fairly quickly to celebrate inside, rather than in front of an unhappy Madison Square Garden crowd.

Could Kings captain Dustin Brown parade around with the trophy Wednesday night after Game 4 of this year's Stanley Cup Final?

Not if the Rangers, down 3-0 in the best-of-seven series after being shut out on Monday, have a say in the outcome.

"We don't want to end our season losing a game at home and giving the Stanley Cup to their team," alternate captain Marc Staal said. "It's not going to happen that way." Added defenseman Dan Girardi: "You don't want to get swept. You don't want to lose in front of your home fans."

And Henrik Lundqvist, who conceded that he had to play better for his team to force a Game 5 in Los Angeles on Friday, said: "I don't think we've been outplayed. I do believe we can turn this around."

Those were among the most defiant remarks in a mostly somber, reflective locker room Tuesday, one in which players couldn't disguise their disappointment and frustration with being on the brink of elimination so quickly.

"I'm not going to lie to you," Brad Richards said. "It's pretty much impossible to be upbeat." But Richards, who has struggled recently after a season of revival, did offer hope for Wednesday night: "The series is not over. You get through today, get a good meal, a good night's sleep and all this will be behind you."

Martin St. Louis, the oldest Ranger at 38 and a teammate of Richards when Tampa won the Cup in 2004, took a different perspective.

"There's 28 teams who would love this chance right now, still being alive and having a chance," St. Louis said. "Belief is everything . . . We've been battle tested. You hope the experience in the past rounds gets a win. We're not trying to win four. Just one."

Coach Alain Vigneault understood the morose mood in the room and the clichés but was blunt. "All the talk that we can have around trying to spin this any way you want -- 29 other teams would like to be in our spot . . . We've played well . . . Just need bounces -- whatever talk you might use, at the end of the day for us right now it's about one game. That's as simple and logical and realistic as I can put it. We have to focus on one game and that's what we're going to do . . .

"Everybody's going to come out and say all the right things. All that, like I mentioned, is just talk. What needs to happen is the actions on the ice. I like the way we've played. We've played some good hockey, but we haven't found a way to win. That's what we've got to do tomorrow."

Coaches met Tuesday and planned to "show our guys a couple things, maybe we can do them a little bit better," Vigneault said. "And hopefully he [Kings goalie Jonathan Quick] won't be as good as he was last night."

But he did not scold his players. "We're down 3-0. We're all lacking sleep. This is tough. I didn't expect my players today to be cheery and upbeat. We're in the Stanley Cup Final and we're down 3-0. You don't get a lot of these opportunities. Excuse us if today we're not real cheery. But tomorrow I can tell you, we're going to show up."

New York Sports