Hours before yet another win-or-go home game, the mood of the Rangers, down 3-0 in the Stanley Cup Final to the Los Angeles Kings, was lighter than the mostly gloomy one on Tuesday.
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault even cracked a joke at the end of his press briefing, saying he had prepared his “Netflix imitation” but no one asked about what he would say to the team Wednesday night.
In the Netflix commercial, a coach starts a hockey locker room pep talk by referencing a movie in which another coach fires up his team. “That’s what I’m saying,” he declares.
In the real locker room, players seemed ready for the challenge.
"We don't want our summer to begin tomorrow,” defenseman Kevin Klein said after an optional morning skate at Madison Square Garden attended by all but five players: Brad Richards, Marc Staal, Ryan McDonagh, Henrik Lundqvist and Dominic Moore. “We don't want this thing to end.”
Clearly, the motivation to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Kings was a priority. As Derek Stepan said: “There is no other choice.”
A win would prevent the Kings from parading the Stanley Cup around at MSG, a sight that the Rangers want to avoid. “I don’t want to see them win the Cup anywhere,” said Brian Boyle.
In order to avoid a sweep and force a Game 5 in Staples center on Friday, the Rangers will need to find ways to score on Jonathan Quick, who whitewashed them with 32 saves on Monday. They have six goals in three games, plus parts of three overtime periods.
The Rangers are 10-2 in their past 12 elimination games, 4-0 this spring, including two Game 7s. Lundqvist has started all 12, with a 1.32 GAA, a .957 save percentage and two shutouts.
If the Rangers can grab Game 4 on Wednesday night, there is a little more light in the tunnel. However, only one team, the 1942 Leafs, have climbed out of a 3-0 hole.
“We have a chance to do something special,” said Martin St. Louis. “We're going to take it one game at a time.”
Said defenseman John Moore: "We've been able to string [wins] together before, so why not now?”
It is possible that Dan Carcillo, available after serving his six-game suspension, will return to the lineup, but neither he or coach Alain Vigneault would confirm that. “Like always, he would bring good energy if he plays,” Vigneault said.
The team announced the signing of free agent Czech defenseman Petr Zamorsky, 21, who was 7-11-18 in 44 games in the Czech Extraliga this season. Zamorsky, who is 6-foot, 190 pounds, also had five goals and nine points in 14 playoff games for HC Zlin.