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The numbers say Rangers are still alive

Ryan McDonagh of the Rangers celebrates with teammates

Ryan McDonagh of the Rangers celebrates with teammates Anton Stralman, Carl Hagelin and Dominic Moore after McDonagh scores a first-period goal against the Los Angeles Kings during Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final at the Staples Center on Saturday, June 7, 2014 in Los Angeles. Credit: Getty Images / Harry How

Don't crown the Kings just yet.

There's some statistical evidence that despite being down 2-0 in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final, the Rangers will send the series back to Los Angeles for a Game 5.


The Kings have not led in regulation for even a second during their last three games, although they won all three in overtime. They have played 229 minutes, 15 seconds since their last lead in regulation, in Game 6 against the Blackhawks. That was more than 188 regulation minutes ago.

The Rangers have won at least one game at home in 14 consecutive playoff series, dating to the Eastern Conference quarterfinals in 2007 against Atlanta. That is the second-longest active streak for consecutive series with a home victory, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Boston has 15.

The Rangers have not lost three in a row in a series since 2009, when they dropped the last three games against the Capitals in the conference quarterfinals. That was 10 series ago.

The Rangers have lost two straight for only the second time in this year's playoffs. They rebounded against the Penguins after falling behind 3-1 to reach the conference finals.

The Rangers have outscored opponents 25-11 in the first period of these playoffs and have been a tough team to play against with a lead after two periods (10-1).

The home team won Games 1 and 2 of the Final but lost the series twice in the previous five years: Alain Vigneault's Canucks in 2011 and the Red Wings in 2009.

None of this is meant to suggest that with a victory Monday night, the Rangers will win the Stanley Cup, but they can gain some confidence. As Derek Stepan vowed after Saturday's double-overtime loss: "This is not going to be a cakewalk."

Another intangible could be the Garden atmosphere, which the Kings -- who perhaps will not be as desperate as the Rangers -- have not experienced. But the vibe from the fans, which would have been an anticipatory "let's get a lead in the series!" with a split in Los Angeles, now will have more of a "stayin' alive" feel.

Game 3 is not an elimination game, but for all practical purposes, it is. Winning four straight vs. the Kings would be an accomplishment of historic proportions. Since 1939, teams up 3-0 have won 20 of 24 times.

But in elimination games, Henrik Lundqvist has sensational numbers. In the last seven games in which the Rangers have faced elimination at home, he is 7-0 with a 0.98 goals-against average, a .967 save percentage and two shutouts.

New York Sports