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Kings Come Up Short, Look To Win Cup At Staples Center

Noah Sachartoff |
June 12, 2014 | 11:19 a.m. PDT

Staff Writer

It really is a game of inches. The only reason you're reading another game recap and not a reflective, cliché-filled championship column is about eight inches. If two pucks each moved about four inches further across the Rangers' goal line, the Kings would currently be sleeping off a night of partying in Manhattan with the Stanley Cup. Instead, the teams, the Cup, and the boxes of champaigne will all be making the trip across the continent, where the Kings will look once again to win their second championship in three years, this time in front of their home fans at Staples Center.

Dustin Brown and the Kings couldn't pull off another of their patented comebacks. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Dustin Brown and the Kings couldn't pull off another of their patented comebacks. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
New York's Benoit Pouliot put the blue shirts on the board first with a redirection of defenseman John Moore's high on Jonathan Quick's glove side, a near-impossible save to make. When the Rangers went up 2-0 on a sharp-angle snap by Martin St. Louis, after the Kings came back from 2-0 deficits in Games 1 and 2, you had to figure the Kings had them right where they wanted them, right? That was the idea many had when Dustin Brown put the Kings in the scoring column on a highlight-reel breakaway goal in the second period. 

On the Kings' failure to close out the series at Madison Square Garden, defenseman Drew Doughty told reporters, "This one is over. We're going home in front of our fans at Staples Center. We're excited. We can learn from what we did wrong, but move on."

They can and will learn as they have all postseason, but if they repeat their Game 4 effort on Friday, it is fair to believe they will be celebrating on the ice after the game. The Kings outshot the Rangers 41-19, including 15-1 in the third period, but "King Henrik" was up to the challenge, stealing the show back from Jonathan Quick after his Game 3 shutout performance. But just as the Kings knew after winning Game 3 on only 15 shots, the Rangers know that 19 against this Los Angeles defense will not extend this series as they are hoping.

The Kings will look to close out the series on home nice. (Getty Images)
The Kings will look to close out the series on home nice. (Getty Images)
Just as many on the Rangers felt they played well enough in the first three games, only to be victimized by a few tough breaks and bounces, the two goal-line pucks and Lundqvist's outstanding performace have set the stage for a homecoming party this Friday that only Hollywood could truly host. The Kings, and those fans at Staples Center will be looking to follow it up with a trophy and champaigne later in the night. 

Noteworthy: In what will break an NHL reord, the Kings will play their 64th playoff game in three seasons this Friday. The game will be the 93rd overall of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, also an all-time record. 

Where to watch: After Games 3 and 4 -- traditionally the lowest-rated games in the Final -- were broadcast on NBC Sports Network, Game 5 and potential subsequent games will be moved off cable and back on to NBC. So far, in the Los Angeles market, these Final games have trailed only Game 6 of the 2012 Final in viewership.

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