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Lundqvist, ice narrowly preserve Rangers' season from Kings in Game 4

The New York Rangers had found countless ways to lose in the Stanley Cup finals. If the Rangers found one more way to lose to the Los Angeles Kings on June 11, the Stanley Cup finals would be over and the Kings would lift another Cup at the Garden. But for the first time in almost two weeks, New York and Henrik Lundqvist found a way to win in Game 4, although they held off Los Angeles by the skin of their teeth in a 2-1 victory.

Kings fall inches short of tying Game 4, winning Cup
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

For the third time in four games, the Rangers took a 2-0 lead, on goals from Benoit Pouliot and Martin St. Louis. And for the third time in four games, the Kings made a run after that, getting a goal from Dustin Brown. If it wasn't for Lundqvist, they would have had even more goals and the Stanley Cup as well.

Just as Jonathan Quick stole Game 3 for the Kings and held off a Rangers onslaught, Lundqvist preserved Game 4 against an even greater Kings onslaught. In fact, Los Angeles held a 15-1 shot advantage in the third period, but had no goals to show for it.

The closest New York came to blowing everything came with 1:11 left, when a puck got by Lundqvist and landed right on the edge of the goal line. Since the ice was soft by then, and since Lundqvist didn't accidentally kick it in himself, and since Derek Stepan eventually pushed the puck away -- without covering his hand over it and forcing a penalty shot -- the game and the Rangers' season was preserved.

It took that much for the Rangers to finally get on the board in the Stanley Cup finals, which should probably give the Kings a lift. They played their best overall game in the series, yet this was the first game they lost in it. Given that Los Angeles played much better in New York than at the Staples Center in Games 1 and 2, it could indicate that it is actually getting stronger -- which doesn't bode well for the Rangers in Game 5.

Lundqvist took three games to finally play like someone who could steal the Stanley Cup for New York. Unfortunately, he took so long that he still needs to steal three more games just like this, starting with Game 5 at Los Angeles on June 13.

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