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Pierre McGuire: ‘Rangers Have Something To Prove’

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NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 11: Benoit Pouliot #67 of the New York Rangers celebrates his goal Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings with his linemates during the first period of Game Four of the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Madison Square Garden on June 11, 2014 in New York, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

New York Rangers-Los Angeles Kings (Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Pierre McGuire isn’t a betting man, but if he were, which team does he think has a better chance of coming back from a 3-1 series deficit: the Miami Heat or the New York Rangers?

“The Rangers,” the NHL on NBC analyst said on The John Feinstein Show. “It doesn’t look like the Heat have much legs left. I think the Rangers have plenty of legs left – and I think they have something to prove.”

Henrik Lundqvist, in particular. The 32-year-old goalie is desperate for a Stanley Cup.

“He’s motivated by that big time,” McGuire said. “You’re talking about a real proud man that really cares a lot about winning and having a winning legacy. Obviously the ’06 Olympic gold medal was a huge step forward for him, but I think more than anything else, he’d like to cement his place in NHL lore by winning a Stanley Cup.”

Lundqvist’s 40 saves in Game 4 were certainly a start. Now he just needs to play lights-out three more times. So do the Rangers as a whole.

“If I were a Ranger,” McGuire said, “I’d be looking at the first two games where – outside of the third period of Game 1, where I was outshot 20-2 – I was a pretty good team in Los Angeles. My speed game was good. We had a couple little mental hiccups that cost us (in Games 1 and 2). But outside of that, (we were) pretty darn good.’”

The Kings, meanwhile, have a chance to win their second Stanley Cup in three years. Even better? They have a chance to do it on their home ice.

“If I were an L.A. King,” McGuire said, “I’d be saying to myself, ‘We’re in a real good spot. We love playing for our fans. Our fans love us. We really are comfortable in our own skin. We deserved a better fate in New York in Game 4.’ Those two pucks hanging on the goal line is something I’ve never seen before. I’ve seen it once in a game or twice in a season, but never twice in one game. It’s just cuckoo to see that.”

Rick Nash can empathize – sort of. The Rangers left winger has just three goals this postseason and is yet to score in the Stanley Cup Finals.

“I see a guy giving serious effort,” McGuire said. “Every time he’s out there, he’s trying, he’s being physical, he’s trying to force turnovers (and) he’s trying to get to the net. For whatever reason, it’s not happening.”

Nash even missed a wide-open net in Game 4.

“It’s almost like there’s a force field around the net whenever he has the puck because he can’t even hit an empty net,” McGuire said. “I just think it’s a guy just absolutely gripping his stick way too tight.”

The Rangers took Game 4 without great play from Nash, but don’t assume they can do it again. In fact, don’t assume the Rangers will win even if Nash does play well in Game 5.

“Everybody thinks momentum goes from game to game in hockey, and it doesn’t,” McGuire said. “It goes from period to period. And when there’s a day-and-a-half between games, it’s interesting because everybody says, ‘Well, now we’ll see where momentum goes.’

“You don’t know where the momentum’s going.”

 

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