There are plenty of reasons for the New York Rangers and their fans to be concerned as the Stanley Cup Final shifts to Madison Square Garden for Game 3. The Kings' 2-0 lead is one (or two, if you choose to count the games individually).
But all hope, and this series, is not lost. It's a truism, but the Final isn't over yet. Here are seven reasons for optimism leading into Game 3:
1 | Home ice
They say a series doesn't start until a team loses at home. It's somewhat silly, since it technically means a series could end before it starts, but at the same time, it's got to be encouraging for the Rangers, who just need to do what the Kings did, and hold serve.
It's easier said than done, but it's a whole lot nicer to think of it this way than to consider the daunting task of winning 4 of the next 5.
The Rangers should get a boost from having the home fans on their side, not to mention no longer having the endure the grating voice of Eric Cartman shouting "Go Kings Go!". And it might help that Jonathan Quick has never started a game as Madison Square Garden. He's looked a little shaky in recent days. Maybe the new venue can keep him that way.
2 | Henrik Lundqvist is due
"The King" looked more like a lesser member of nobility -- a duke, maybe -- in Game 2, and while that was no good for the Rangers then, it bodes well for them heading into Game 3. He's allowed four goals thrice in this postseason, and each time, he bounced back in a big way, allowing just one his next time out.
3 | The 2-0 comeback is totally in
All the cool kids are doing it.
If the Rangers need inspiration, they need only look to their black and silver opponents, who have come back from 2-0 leads twice in this series already. It's the thing to do. It's hip.
Granted, the "worst lead in hockey" isn't normally applied in the macro sense of series, but stop being so pedantic. I'm trying to encourage the Rangers here.
4 | Alain Vigneault's still-broken heart
The quickest way to make Alain Vigneault spill his big glass of red, in-flight wine? Suggest a Final is over after a team wins the first two at home. He knows firsthand that it isn't.
In 2011, when Vigneault was coaching the Canucks, they did what LA did. Then they headed to Boston and proceeded to implode in remarkable fashion. So don't rule out a stunning, heart-breaking collapse from which the Kings' franchise and all those who cheer for it never properly recover.
5 | The Kings are anti-lead
These guys aren't leaders. Leading is the road to failure. Why is Jonathan Toews not here? Too much leading.
The Kings haven't led for a single second of this series. And yet they're two games away from glory. I mean, come on. That's ridiculous.
But still, as frustrating as this has to be for New York, it's also a sign that they can hang with these guys. Through two games, the play has been relatively even, and it's taken extra time to decide both contests. That's a lucky bounce here or a lucky bounce there. It's not like the Rangers need to up their play all that much to be in this.
6. The 28-game dream
This series has to go seven. The Kings have done it all the way along, playing seven games in every series leading up to this one. There's history to make here.
You don't think this is ending before it absolutely has to, do you? Don't be silly.
7. 50 Cent believes
The rapper bet $10,000 that you could do it, Rangers, without looking into who was favoured, or where things even were in the series. This is blind faith. Let fiddy lead the way.