Stanley Cup Final: Rangers a little less angry after rough time in L.A.


NEW YORK — Brian Boyle was pissed, and it was hard to blame him. His team had just lost a second straight overtime game. In the Stanley Cup Final. Without trailing until the end.

In the Rangers' locker room at Staples Center, Boyle was asked if the Rangers put up a fight despite being perceived (not entirely correctly) as underdogs against the Los Angeles Kings.

MORE: How do the Kings keep doing this?

“I don’t give a s— about underdogs," Boyle said. "That’s ridiculous. Give me a break. We’re not. We’re here, too. We’re a good team. And we can’t take any solace (in two close games) because we lost.

“We came here to win games. It doesn’t matter how the hell we do it, we have to win the game. If you don’t win the game you didn’t do what you came to do and that’s the worst feeling there is.”

Thirty-six hours or so after the fact, and back at Madison Square Garden, Boyle was a little more measured.

"We're more focused on us," Boyle said, adding that the Rangers "need to clean up some things."

That comes from coach Alain Vigneault, who stressed for a third straight day that he was happy with the way his team played. A poor third period set the tone for overtime in Game 1, and though they blew three two-goal leads in Game 2, that came with an assist from the officials, who failed to waive off Los Angeles' third goal despite some clear goalie interference from Kings forward Dwight King.

Henrik Lundqvist was furious after the game, and Vigneault was too. By Monday, all he was saying was that he'd discussed the situation with the league.

"We have to hold serve, and we know that," Vigneault said. "But we know our game and we know the way to play. When we do that, we're a good team."

Marty St. Louis also stressed the need for a measured response heading into Monday's Game 3.

"You can't just pat yourself on the back, because there's a lot of work to be done, but I'm proud of who we are, and we're going to keep pushing to get where want to be," St. Louis said.

Part of Boyle's line role in ensuring that, the player said, was establishing the forecheck as they did in the past.

An example: In the last five games against the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference finals, the Rangers took at least half of all shot attempts with Boyle on the ice at even-strength. In four of those games, they were at 57.1 percent or better. Compare that to the first two games of the final: 50.0 and 36.7 percent.

"It's not always easy to do," Boyle said. It's a matter of getting it out of your own zone cleanly and putting it in an area where you can get it back."

Boyle still worked in some bluntness, though; he was asked about how chaotic the L.A. games have appeared from the press box.

"It could be (that) the ice was pretty terrible in L.A., too," he said. "This time of year it's not gonna be great ice anyway. That's the way it is, and guys are going hard and fast and there's a lot coming at you with the bouncing puck. So chaos happens."