WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Whatever they were pouring on the Rangers' team plane home from Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon, the glass was half full when they landed in Westchester.
For a team that is in an 0-2 hole against the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final after blowing a total of four two-goal leads, the Rangers sound incredibly upbeat and confident as they prepare to host Game 3 on Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
"We've played some good hockey," coach Alain Vigneault said. "We might feel that we deserve a better outcome than what we have right now, which is trailing by two games. But it doesn't matter. At the end of the day, we have to take care of business [Monday night] and that's what we're going to do."
The Kings are favored by most to win the series, yet have needed three overtime periods on their home ice to win the first two games. The Rangers have not trailed for a single second in regulation in either game. They took a quick 2-0 lead in their 3-2 overtime loss in Game 1, and in Game 2, they led 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 before losing, 5-4, in double overtime.
"We've played two good games over there. We didn't get the bounces in the OT and we need to limit our mistakes," Mats Zuccarello said. "I think we're a confident group and we're playing the best hockey."
Vigneault said he has been unhappy with his team's play in only one period -- presumably the third period of Game 1, when the Rangers were outshot 20-3.
What he is unhappy with is that a couple of controversial calls didn't go the Rangers' way. Specifically, he took issue with the Kings' goal at 1:58 of the third period Saturday night when it appeared to many that Dwight King interfered with Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
"You can look at it any way you want, but at the end of the day, that shouldn't have been 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.
"We were a bit unlucky. We were playing really solid and sometimes stuff like that happens. I believe it's going to even out and I believe we're going to win the next game."
For the Rangers to have much of a chance to win the series, they'd better win Game 3. Only one team out of 26 in NHL history has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit to win the Stanley Cup Final. That was the Toronto Maple Leafs, who battled back against the Detroit Red Wings in 1942.
The Rangers, however, enter Monday night's game knowing that they battled back from a 3-1 deficit against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
"I think that proves we can come back against a really good team," Derick Brassard said. "I think we showed yesterday to ourselves we can play with those guys. Both games went into overtime and could have gone either way. We're pretty confident coming back here."
Brassard knows it's a challenge.
"They have a really good team. But we have a really good team ourselves,'' he said. "We're very confident. If we keep playing the same way, we don't have to change a whole lot. It's just when the game is on the line, we just have to find a way to score those goals."