If not for a tremendous buildup of slush and snow flakes in the big blue crease, the 2013-14 NHL season may already be over, and the Los Angeles Kings would be hosting their championship parade right about nowish.
Just taaaap it in! The Kings came that close in the dying seconds of Game 4 of tying the contest and sending the game to overtime (AP Photo/Bruce Bennett, Pool)
The Rangers held on for a 2-1 win in Game 4 and in doing so gave new meaning to the phrase "holding on." The Kings fired 15 shots on goalie Henrik Lundqvist compared to just one for the Rangers on the other end of the ice on Jonathan Quick. The Kings threw everything they had on the Ranger net trying to end the series then and there, but Lundqvist stood tall (and had a little help from the snow) to hand New York their first win in the series.
Game 5 is tonight back in LA. For all intents and purposes, the Kings will probably come out in a blaze of hellfire and storm the Rangers en route to steamrolling them without much push back. The Cup will be in the building to be won for the second straight game. The Kings do not want this series to see Game 6 back in New York.
Looking at it a different way, the Rangers have been in this position before just a few rounds ago: down in a 3-1 series deficit with the need to win three straight to come out on top. The Penguins will begrudgingly tell you the Rangers are a lot harder to close out than you'd think.
If this is the last game of the hockey season, let's hope it keeps in line with the rest of the series. And of course, I just want to see the Cup again. I want to see it walking down the tunnel of the arena before being placed on the tiny table on the ice. And the celebration that follows.
Such a lovely sight.
Los Angeles Kings @ New York Rangers: 1 - 2, Los Angeles leads the series 3 - 1