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Stanley Cup Final: Rangers beat Kings, 2-1, to prevent sweep

They were chanting “Hen-Reek, Hen-Reek” in Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night. The New York Rangers, and their fans, finally had something to celebrate.

Behind goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s 40 saves, including 15 in the third period, the Rangers stayed alive in the Stanley Cup Final with a 2-1 victory over the Kings in Game 4.

The teams play Game 5 at Staples Center on Friday at 5 p.m.

The Kings had plenty of opportunities. They had a handful of odd-man rushes in the second period, two by center Jeff Carter. Lundqvist denied all but one.

Dustin Brown got the only shot past Lundqvist. Rangers’ defenseman Dan Giradi whiffed trying to pass the puck at the Kings’ blue line. Brown went up ice and deked Lundqvist before tucking the puck into the net eight mintues into the second period to cut the Rangers’ lead to 2-1.

Lundqvist gobbled up everything else. He stopped the last 26 shots by the Kings. He also had a little luck. With 1 minute 11 seconds left, Kings forward Tanner Pearson tipped a shot that Lundqvist stopped. The puck slid underneath his pads slowly toward the goal line, but stopped just short.

The Rangers showed up with greater purpose, and defenseman Anton Stralman was the poster boy for that effort.

In the first period, Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, who had roamed the ice through the first three games, pushed into the Rangers’ zone and was flattened by a Stralman hip check. Later in the period, Brown went behind the net after a puck and was dropped by a Stralman elbow.

When not sending little love notes, Stralman was hanging around the net, where he was in the right place at the right time.

The Kings were on the power play when defenseman Alec Martinez fired from the blue line. Lundqvist made the save, but the puck trickled onto the goal line. Kings center Jeff Carter poked at it and missed. Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman managed to clear the puck off the line.

The Rangers got just enough offense.

John Moore sent a high shot from the blue line that was redirected by Benoit Pouliot with 13:35 left in the first period, ending a string of 53 shots that goaltender Jonathan Quick had stopped.

Right wing Martin St. Louis was in the right spot to make it 2-0 with 14 minutes left in the second period. A rebound dropped at the stick of center Derek Stepan at the crease, who fanned on the shot. The puck trickled to St. Louis, who chipped it into the net.

Rangers 2, Kings 1 (1:54 left in third period)

The Rangers are two minutes from forcing Game 5 on Friday night in L.A., although the Kings have made Henrik Lundqvist earn his keep in goal.

The Kings have 14 shots on goal, and the latest by center Trevor Lewis nearly slips through the pads of Lundqvist before coming to rest just short of the goal line. Defenseman Eric Staal slid the puck under Lundqvist as a scrum ensued in the crease.

Goalie Jonathan Quick has gone to the bench to give the Kings an extra skater, and the Rangers just miss an empty net with one minute to play.

Rangers 2, Kings 1 (10:05 left in third period)

Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist continues to handle the barrage by the Kings as the midway point of the third period of Game 4 arrives tonight.

Kings forward Tyler Toffoli is the latest to get a quality shot against the Rangers, but like the previous seven Lundqvist makes the save.

L.A. is trying to sweep the best-of-seven series with a win while New York is hoping to send the playoffs back to Staples Center for Game 5 on Friday.

Rangers 2, Kings 1 (early third period)

The Kings have applied the pressure to the Rangers early in the third period of Game 4, but goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has stopped all seven shots he's faced.

There are 15 minutes left tonight as the Rangers, who do not have a shot in the third period, try to prevent the Kings from sweeping the Stanley Cup Final.

Rangers 2, Kings 1 (end of second period)

The New York Rangers, behind the play of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, are 20 minutes from a return trip to Los Angeles.

Lundqvist has stopped 25 of 26 shots through two periods, protecting the Rangers’ 2-1 lead over the Kings in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final tonight at Madison Square Garden.

Right wing Martin St. Louis was in the right spot to make it, 2-0, for the Rangers only 6 minutes 27 seconds into the second period. A rebound dropped at the stick of center Derek Stepan near the crease, but he fanned on the shot. The puck trickled to St. Louis, who chipped it into the net.

Kings right wing Dustin Brown got the only shot past Lundqvist two minutes later. Rangers defenseman Dan Giradi whiffed while trying to pass the puck at the Kings’ blue line. Brown went up ice and deked goaltender Henrik Lundqvist before tucking the puck into the net.

Lundqvist stopped everything else, including two quality chances by Kings center Jeff Carter.

Rangers 2, Kings 1 (11:14 left in second period)

Rangers defenseman Dan Giradi whiffs while trying to pass the puck at the Kings’ blue line.

Kings center Dustin Brown said, "thank you," broke up ice alone and deked goaltender Henrik Lundqvist before tucking the puck into the net.

Rangers 2, Kings 0 (13:33 left in second period)

The Rangers are getting the bounces tonight.

A rebound dropped at the stick of center Derek Stepan at the crease, who fanned on the shot. The puck trickled to right wing Martin St. Louis, who chipped it into the net.

The Rangers led 2-0 in Games 1 and 2, but lost both.

Rangers 1, Kings 0 (early second first period)

Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick is again stellar in helping kill a Ranger power play, first stopping a shot redirected by Rangers center Derick Brassard.

Quick then stood up to a barrage of chip shots by left wing Rick Nash and defenseman Ryan McDonagh in the crease.

Rangers 1, Kings 0 (early second period)

The Kings get two quality shots on goal in the early moments of the second period tonight in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final at Madison Square Garden.

Right wing Marian Gaborik breaks away from the Rangers but hits the crossbar as he beats goaltender Henrik Lundqvist with the shot. Moments later Lundqvist is again up to the task as the Kings try to score on a three-on-two attack but center Jarret Stoll can't convert.

The Rangers are now on a power play after defenseman Willie Mitchell is called for hooking Rangers enter Brian Boyle.

Rangers 1, Kings 0 (end of first period)

The New York Rangers have no room for error, and played like it during the first period in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final tonight.

They controlled the period and left with a 1-0 lead over the Kings, who lead the best-of-seven series, 3-0.

The Rangers applied pressure early and it paid off. John Moore’s high shot from the blue line was redirected by Benoit Pouliot for a goal 7 minutes 25 seconds into the game. Goaltender Jonathan Quick had stopped 53 consecutive shots covering nearly 104 minutes before Pouliot tipped in the puck.

Defenseman Anton Stralman was the poster boy for desperate play by the Rangers.

The Kings' Drew Doughty, who had roamed the ice through the first three games, pushed into the Rangers’ zone and was flattened by a Stralman hip check. The Kings’ Dustin Brown went behind the net after a puck and was dropped by a Stralman elbow.

When not sending little love notes, Stralman was hanging around the net, where he was in the right place at the right time.

The Kings were on a power play when defenseman Alec Martinez fired from the blue line. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made the save, but the puck trickled along the goal line. Kings center Jeff Carter poked at it and missed. Stralman managed to clear the puck off the line.

Rangers 1, Kings 0 (8:10 left in first period)

The Kings miss a chance to score on a power play when Jeff Carter twice fails to poke the puck across the goal line after Henrik Lundqvist blocked a shot by Alec Martinez.

Rangers left wing Mats Zuccarello was sent off for delay of game after he flipped the puck over the boards while under pressure from Kings center Anze Kopitar.

Rangers 1, Kings 0 (13:35 left in first period)

The Rangers finally get a puck past goaltender Jonathan Quick.

Two seconds after the Kings kill off the first penalty, Rangers defenseman John Moore blasts a shot from the blue line that left wing Benoit Pouliot deflects past Quick to open the scoring in Game 4 tonight at Madison Square Garden.

Quick had stopped 53 consecutive shots, going back to Game 2, before the goal. Quick’s goal-less streak ends at 103 minutes 41 seconds.

Kings 0, Rangers 0 (14:37 left in first period)

Five and a half minutes into Game 4 and the Kings are called for the first penalty. Defenseman Willie Mitchell hits Rangers forward Derek Dorsett in the face when trying to clear the puck from behind the goal.

Until the penalty, it was a free flowing game with the Kings getting three early shots that Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped. The Rangers had two shots on goal, one blocked by Drew Doughty and goalie Jonathan Quick making a save on the other.

The Kings, one game away from winning the NHL championship for the second time in three years, have begun Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Follow along with us here as we cover the game live.

After an overtime win in Game 1 and a double-overtime win in Game 2, the Kings won a relative laugher, 3-0, in Game 3, putting them in commanding position and leaving the Rangers in a desperate hole. Or, as Rangers Coach Alain Vigneault said during the off-day skate Tuesday, "We're down 3-0. We're all lacking sleep. This is tough. ... You don't get a lot of these opportunities, so excuse us if we're not real cheery.”

The playoffs have been incredible for the Kings. Perhaps Times columnist Bill Plaschke said it best: “What the Kings have accomplished over the last two months hasn't created one memorable moment like those of Kirk Gibson, Robert Horry, and Tyus Edney. It's been a dozen moments. It hasn't been one eternal memory, it's been an eternity of memories, each one more implausible, each one marinating for only mere seconds before the next one, with only one victory required for the most incredible 16-win stretch this town has ever experienced.”

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