Grumpy and sullen? For sure.
Beaten? Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final will reveal that.
The New York Rangers practiced Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, but their activity couldn't hide the fact that they trail the Kings, 3-0, with elimination staring at them Wednesday night.
"There wasn't much sleep in this room last night probably," center Brad Richards said. "Tough day. Your mind is racing on a thousand things you can do differently and what could have been."
Coach Alain Vigneault was asked about not appearing to be his usual bright self.
"We're down 3-0," Vigneault said. "We're all lacking sleep. This is tough. I didn't expect my players today to be cheery and upbeat. We're in the Stanley Cup Final and we're down 3-0. You don't get a lot of these opportunities, so excuse us if we're not real cheery. But tomorrow, I can tell you we're going to show up."
The Rangers were frustrated by goalie Jonathan Quick in a 3-0 loss Monday despite getting six power plays and taking 32 shots.
Their spirit sunk after giving up a goal to center Jeff Carter with 0.8 of a second remaining in the first period, a shot that struck the skate of defenseman Dan Girardi.
"That's just something you can't control," Girardi said. "An inch one way, an inch the other way. The first one [goes] off my skate a little higher, [Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist] stops it. A little lower, I block the shot. It just hits my skate and goes up and that's kind of how it's been going for us."
The angst over being beaten by lucky bounces heightened when forward Mike Richards collected his pass that bounced off the leg of defenseman Ryan McDonagh and scored an insurance third-period goal.
"I'd love to take a wrist shot that goes off a knee of the other player and go in. You can't draw that up," Richards said.
The Kings are "a calm, cool, collected team that doesn't get rattled, and it just seems that they're scoring at the right times and getting big saves at the right times."
While the Rangers lament their plight, center Jarret Stoll said the Kings are driven "to find a way to win. We've had some fortunate bounces, but it's June 10 now. You need luck, bounces and hard work to still be playing now. The Rangers had good luck and bounces to still be playing too. Take that for what it is. We play games, find ways to win. Sometimes, it's earned, sometimes [not], but you find a way."
Cup is in the building
Champagne will be on ice and the Stanley Cup will be in Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.
"I can't wait to get out there," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. "It kind of [stinks] that the game is at 8 [EDT]. I just can't wait to get out there, get warmups over, drop the first puck."
The Kings say they are on guard from previous playoff experiences to avoid the distractions that struck when they led New Jersey in the 2012 Final, 3-0, and lost two games before wrapping up the series.
"It wasn't easy for us to come back from 3-0. We know how it can happen," Doughty said about overcoming that kind of deficit against San Jose in the first round. "All it takes is one game, one momentum shift. The team can run with it, the other team can be down in the dumps."
Bond of champions
General Manager Dean Lombardi has shown a strong sense of what type of player will improve the Kings. In 2012, Lombardi added Carter for the run to the Stanley Cup. This season's acquisition, Marian Gaborik, has contributed a playoff-best 13 goals, and has eight assists.
"It's a pretty easy team to come into," Carter said. "Right from day one, the moment you walk into that room, you feel welcome. ... It's all about winning. The moment that guy walks in the room, you do whatever you can to make him feel comfortable, part of the team. You pull him along."
Stoll said that the acceptance comes with expectations.
"We've got good guys in the room, guys that want to play the right way, aren't selfish," Stoll said. "There's not one selfish guy in that room. We understand if there is a selfish guy in that room, we'll either kick him out or he won't play. That's honestly the way it will work."
Back in action
Rangers forward and ex-King Daniel Carcillo is eligible to return for Game 4 after a six-game suspension for elbowing NHL linesman Scott Driscoll during the Eastern Conference final.
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