New York Rangers panicking? If they are, they're not showing it

Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers sits on the ice after allowing the game...

Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers sits on the ice after allowing the game winning goal in double overtimeduring Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final at the Staples Center on June 7, 2014. (Victor Decolongon/Getty Images/AFP)

Rob Longley, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:28 PM ET

The time for moral victories is running short for the New York Rangers, starting with Monday’s Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final.

But if there is panic in the Eastern Conference champions, they sure aren’t showing it.

“The biggest thing is putting things in perspective,” Rangers forward Marty St. Louis said following his team’s game-day skate Monday at Madison Square Garden.

“We’ve done a lot of good things in here. We’re in the Stanley Cup final. We played in two games and lost in overtime in both. So for us, it’s let’s not beat ourselves and stay positive, look forward to the next game.

“Take some time and look around and see what we’ve done this year. There’s two teams left and we’re one of them.”

There’s two ways of looking at the 2-0 series lead the Los Angeles Kings have opened up, of course.

On one hand, the Kings have not held a lead at any point in those first two games back in California, winning each in overtime. On the other, did the Rangers squander a golden opportunity to have a fighting chance by blowing two-goal leads in each game against the heavily favoured Kings?

“It’s been nine periods of real good hockey so far,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “(The games) could have gone one way or the other. They’re up 2-0, give them full credit. We’re going to try to make this a series tonight.

“We have to hold serve and we know that. We know our game and we know the way to play. When we do that, we’re a good team. But even though we’re playing hard and playing the right way, they’re a great hockey team.”

There is hope for the Rangers, even if the all-time series record of home teams sweeping Games 1 and 2 of the Cup final is 32-3. Two of those losses have come in the past five seasons.

There’s also this to hang on: Including this year, home teams are a solid 25-9 in the Stanley Cup final dating back to 2009.

Still, losing those two contests in overtime has to come with a mental cost.

“We all know the result of the series so far,” Rangers forward Derek Brassard said. “Obviously it’s frustrating to work so hard and not get rewarded with anything.

“But we think it’s possible. I think (the Kings) know that, they know that we can beat them. If we go out there and play our game, I think we have a great chance.”

WHAT ABOUT BRAD?

If the Rangers are going to get back in the series, they’ll likely need to get some production from their top line, a fact acknowledged by Vigneault who on Monday issued a mild challenge to his veteran.

“I’m sure that Brad, with his experience, knows that their whole line needs to be better,” Vigneault said.

“They’re veteran guys, they’ve been around. They can evaluate their game real well and I’m sure they are going to have a good bounce-back game tonight.”

QUICK HITS

Are the Kings getting worn out from the 23 playoff games they’ve played so far, including the past three in overtime? Not defenceman Drew Doughty. “I’m the best couch-sitter in the world,” Doughty said on Monday when asked if he is getting his rest ... Rangers’ Dan Girardi on the first Stanley Cup final contest at MSG in two decades: “(Rangers fans) have been hungry for this for about 20 years.”


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