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Rangers Look To Avoid Sweep

Trailing 3-0, the New York Rangers need to win and need to win now.

Trailing 3-0, the New York Rangers need to win and need to win now.

Trailing 3-0, the New York Rangers will look to stave off elimination Wednesday night as they host the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Opening face-off at Madison Square Garden is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET.

The first Stanley Cup game to grace Madison Square Garden in 20 years should have been cause for celebration on Monday, but any pomp and jubilation was well and truly washed away before the third period.

Los Angeles got goals from Jeff Carter, Jake Muzzin and Mike Richards to take 3-0 win in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals, moving to within 60 minutes of a second championship in three years.

The Rangers were by no means outplayed. In fact, you could argue that the Blueshirts – who outshot their opponents to the tune of 32-15 – had the better share of the game. The problems came at the offensive end though, where the team failed to tally a goal for just the second time this postseason.

The Kings meanwhile took what few chances they had and then watched as goaltender Jonathan Quick came up big once again. Quick halted 32 shots, 28 of which came after the first period.

Now the two teams will return to the Garden, each with the same agenda: win.

Since the finals adopted a best-of-seven format in 1939, the team leading the series 3-0 is an astounding 20-6 in Game 4. The last time a team trailed 3-0 and won a Game 4 was in 2012, when the New Jersey Devils avoided a sweep at the hands of the Kings. Before that, you have to go all the way back to 1981. History isn’t exactly favoring the home side.

But not everything is against the Rangers.

There hasn’t been a sweep in the Stanley Cup Finals in 14 years, easily the longest stretch of its kind in NHL history. The Rangers will look to keep it that way on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, in the four major sports leagues, a Los Angeles side has swept a New York side just once in seven series, back in the 1963 World Series when the Dodgers defeated the Yankees.

Looking forward, even if the Rangers do earn a win in Game 4, the likelihood of the club winning the Stanley Cup is low. Very low. But very low is still a chance.

There is a history of historic comebacks in the NHL. In the entire history of the league, four teams have erased a 3-0 deficit and gone on to win the series.

In 1942 the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals; in 1975 the New York Islanders upended the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round; and in 2010 the Philadelphia Flyers startlingly got the better of the Boston Bruins.

The fourth team to etch its name in the annuals of time was of course the Los Angeles Kings earlier this postseason. The Kings overturned a 3-0 deficit to eliminate the San Jose Sharks in the first round.

It’s this latter nugget of information the Rangers should look to for inspiration.

While the Rangers may not be as talented as the Kings on the ice, the team is by no means heavily outmatched, and has enough talent to at least make a comeback a possibility. That comeback starts tonight in Game 4.

Of course, it won’t take much to remind the Kings of their own success when trailing 3-0. Expect Darryl Sutter to have his side mentally prepared heading into this one. They Kings won’t want to give the Rangers even a hint of hope, so expect an offensive barrage from the off.

Jonathan Quick was the star of the show in Game 3. Can he now lead his team to a sweep?

Jonathan Quick was the star of the show in Game 3. Can he now lead his team to a sweep?

Los Angeles Kings vs. New York Rangers odds for 06/10/2014

 New York (-130) opened as the favorite over Los Angeles (+120) on the moneyline, which has remained steady. At the time of publication, online sportsbook Bookmaker had the Kings at +126, the longest odds going for this game.

Since 1995, the team leading a playoff series 3-0 is 27-19 in Game 5. By that reckoning, the Rangers have a 41 percent chance of avoiding elimination on Wednesday night.

The Rangers are just 2-5 in their last seven home games against the Kings, a trend they desperately need to improve on. History at least favors the side on Wednesday night; the Blueshirts have never been swept in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals series.

The over/under opened at 5.

Monday’s Game 3 saw the total go over, which means the series has seen an over, an under and a push.

Four of the last six games between the sides at Madison Square Garden have seen the total go over.

The over has paid out in every game this postseason in which the Kings could win a series, a stretch of five games. When it comes to the Kings, defense doesn’t necessarily win series.

Should the Rangers survive Wednesday night’s elimination game, the series will take a 3,000 mile trek across the country for Game 5 in Los Angeles on Friday night (8:00 p.m. ET).

For a selection of NHL team prop bets, click here.

For a selection of NHL player prop bets, click here.

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