The hockey gods New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault has referenced throughout the Stanley Cup Final made their presence felt at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night. Specifically, they seemed to spend most of their time on his team’s goal line, where two potential Kings goals were spectacularly denied in the Rangers’ 2-1 win in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Given their first opportunity to dwell on poor “puck luck,” the Kings weren’t wallowing after their practice on Thursday.
“Puck luck is for cop-outs,” Kings right wing Justin Williams said. “I don’t believe in that at all. I’m a true believer that you get what you put into it and (Wednesday) night we simply weren’t good enough and we didn’t get the pay-off.”
Once in the first period of Game 4 and again with a little more than a minute to play in the game, two Kings shots came to a halt behind Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist without crossing the goal line. Each would have tied the game.
The play on which the Kings scored their lone goal didn’t exactly begin in conventional fashion, something Vigneault was quick to point out upon being informed of Williams’ comments about puck luck. Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi’s stick broke, setting up Dustin Brown’s breakaway goal that pulled the Kings within a goal in the second period.
“Whether you call it hockey gods or hockey plays or whatever, like when Dan was shooting the puck from the point and the knob of his stick stays in his hand, you can call that a hockey play or you can call it whatever you want,” Vigneault said. “It doesn’t matter to me. Those are things that happen. Bounces happen during the game.”
The last time Vigneault was in Los Angeles, he was praising his team’s play after a pair of overtime losses and lamenting a lack of bounces the Rangers’ way.
“You work for your bounces. You work for your luck,” Kings center Jarret Stoll said. “How many times have we seen in the playoffs, in the regular season… pucks are going off legs and elbows and gloves, whatever, to go in the net. You’ve got to work to get there.”