Pressure is on the Kings to close out Stanley Cup final

The Los Angeles Kings lean off their bench during Game 4 of the NHL Stanley Cup final against the...

The Los Angeles Kings lean off their bench during Game 4 of the NHL Stanley Cup final against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden in New York, June 11, 2014. (BRUCE BENNETT/Getty Images/AFP)

Bruce Garrioch, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:33 PM ET

The Stanley Cup has made its way to Hollywood, but it didn’t come back with the Kings.

Instead, the show must go on.

If the fourth game is indeed the hardest one to win, the Kings may be the poster boys for that saying as the NHL season refuses to end.

The Kings aren’t happy the Stanley Cup final has come to this. They have another chance to close out the New York Rangers on Friday night at the Staples Center and Los Angeles wants this overwith.

Rangers’ centre Derrick Brassard tossed the pressure card in the direction of the Kings following practice Thursday.

“The mindset is totally different because we have nothing to lose,” Brassard said. “We do, because we’re playing for the Stanley Cup, but at the same time it’s 3-1 and all the pressure is on them to close out the series.

“It’s never easy. We’ve felt as a team we’ve been playing right with them the whole series.”

The Kings have been here before, up 3-1 in the Cup final and unable to get it done easily. It happened in 2012 against the New Jersey Devils when the Kings weren’t able to close it out until Game 6.

“We’re not thinking about that,” defenceman Drew Doughty said. “We’re back home, that’s where won it last time, so that’s what we’re thinking about here.”

The Kings don’t want to talk about the past, but they can’t avoid the subject because they had a chance to sweep the Cup final with a 3-0 lead and weren’t able to get it done.

The Kings do have the advantage of having been here before in these playoffs. In Round 1, they erased a 3-0 deficit against the San Jose Sharks to win the playoff series in Game 7.

Los Angeles players know exactly what the Rangers are thinking right now and that’s why it is paramount to get this overwith as quickly as possible so the celebrations can begin.

“You move on really,” Kings’ coach Darryl Sutter said on Thursday. “I don’t think it was really frustration. I think it was a lot of opportunities to tie a game, win a game, score a first goal, all those things. Didn’t quite happen.

“Move on, be in a good place (Thursday), be ready for (Friday).

The Kings were ready for a celebration in New York but that had to put it all on hold because they couldn’t beat goalie Henrik Lundqvist and the result was a 2-1 loss in Game 4.

The Kings fired 40 shots at Lundqvist, outshot the Rangers 15-1 in the third alone and had two pucks not cross the goalline, but they found no solace in the fact they were close to a victory.

“It sucks,” Doughty said. “We should have put those in the net. They were laying right there for us.

“We’ve just got to get hungrier around their net to get pucks past this goalie and this team. We just have to be hungrier than them and more determined than we were in (Game 4).”

In a playoff series, it doesn’t mean much. The Kings feel they let Lundqvist see the puck too much and they allowed him to look better than maybe he actually was. Hard to say if that’s true.

But expect the Kings to play a lot better in the first 10 minutes than they did in the first period of Game 3. They’ll try to push the pace physically because the Rangers are still in a tough spot.

So, now, it has come down to this: An opportunity for the Kings to win at the Staples Center and celebrate the Cup with their faithful. That should certainly be enough motivation.

“We would haved like to have finished it (Wednesday) but having the next game back home that’s where were comfortable and we’re looking forward to it,” Doughty said.

WHATEVER IT TAKES

LOS ANGELES — Brad Richards will do whatever it takes to win.

Even it means a fourth-line role.

A day after being dropped out of a top-six forward role, the Rangers’ alternate captain maintained he understood the decision.

“We’re trying to win a game,” Richards said. “If you’re down 3-0, something has to change sometimes. I talked to my new lines and (went) to play.

“I actually played more 5-on-5 than I did the (game) before. You guys will read into it because I was on a different line. I haven’t been where I need to be in this series and that’s why my ice time has been lower. We’re trying to win games. It’s a chance to win a Cup.”

Coach Alain Vigneault admitted it wasn’t easy.

“Brad’s a team-first guy,” Vigneault said. “I mean, as a coach, and especially at this time of the year when you don’t get a lot of these opportunities, sometimes you got to make decisions that might be a little tough to make on a personal aspect.” 


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