The Stanley Cup finals have undergone a familiar pattern for the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings opened up the 2014 finals with two overtime wins over the New York Rangers, shut them out in Game 3 and failed to lift the Stanley Cup in Game 4. This is how the 2012 finals started as well, and if the pattern continues in Game 5 on June 13, Los Angeles will have to go back to New York one more time.
Ultimately, the New Jersey Devils were in too big of a hole to erase a 3-0 deficit in 2012, as they were slaughtered in Game 6 at Los Angeles. However, Game 6 of the Kings-Rangers series would be held in New York, which might bode better for the Rangers. As such, it is certainly in the Kings' best interest to finish things at the Staples Center immediately.
The Rangers came very close to winning Games 1 and 2 at Los Angeles, so they won't be intimidated by being on the road. What's more, they won Games 5 and 7 of the second round in Pittsburgh when they faced a 3-1 hole as well. Of course, New York wasn't down by 3-0 in that series first.
The Kings technically played their best game of the Stanley Cup finals in Game 4, swarming Henrik Lundqvist with 41 shots. It just so happened that Lundqvist was more on fire, and got lucky to have two pucks land just shy of crossing the goal line. The Rangers' best hope is for Lundqvist to have three more games like that, which may be too tall an order.
Los Angeles is getting better in this series as it goes along, which doesn't look promising for New York. The Rangers blew so many leads in Games 1 and 2, and were stopped so often by Jonathan Quick in Game 3, they may have maximized their limit for chances in these Stanley Cup finals.
But since this series has followed the pattern of 2012 so perfectly, New York will get one more win out of it if it holds just a little longer. And since Los Angeles would have to go on the road for a Game 6, maybe the pattern will break and allow for a Game 7 where anything can happen.
First, the Rangers have to survive Game 5 starting at 8 p.m. est on NBC.