Entering Monday night's tilt at Madison Square Garden, the Kings had won both games at the Staples Center despite having led for all of zero seconds. The Rangers squandered a two-goal lead in Game 1, before coughing up three of them in Game 2.
Then Monday night, in what Alain Vigneault characterized as close to a must-win, New York registered a three period-high 32 shots on goal. Los Angeles fired a series low 15. And yet, when the final horn groaned, the scoreboard, and the series, read 3-0 Kings.
Luck be damned, the Rangers are running out of time.
"We are doing a lot good things, but you look at the goals and we put two in our own net and then just a tough play on the third one," said a dejected Henrik Lundqvist after Game 3. "At some point, you are going to need some puck luck and we don't have any right now.
"It feels like they have all of it."
The Rangers know a thing or two about puck luck from their postseason run. Whether it was Alex Galchenyuk's shot hitting the crossbar late in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final, or a near perfect rebound to set up Derek Stepan for a goal in Game 3 of the Flyers series, the Blueshirts have gotten the bounces to get this far.
Simply put, now they're not.
"It doesn't matter what you think you deserve out there, you just have to find a way to win games and that's what they have been doing," said Lundqvist. "We can sit here and say we've played really well but at the end it's about finding ways to win, and we haven't done that."
On Monday night, the puck bounced the Kings way. On Los Angeles' first goal, Jeff Carter beat the buzzer, as his shot kicked off Dan Girardi's foot. Lundqvist went low to make the save as the puck deflected high.
And finally, with the Rangers looking to escape the second period keeping their deficit at two, Mike Richards had a 2-on-1 pass broken up by Ryan McDonagh, only to perfectly redirect back onto his tape for an easy third goal.
If there was a common theme in Monday night's goal scoring, it was that just as each play involved a King, it almost as evenly involved a player in a blue sweater.
Tough luck? Sure. But a 3-0 series deficit seems even tougher now entering Game 4.
"It's not about playing great, it's about winning," said Lundqvist. "We have to regroup. It's not over.
We are looking at getting the next game, that's all we think about right now is that win.
If the Rangers can sustain the same level they were at in Game 3 come Wednesday, and, even get a few of those bounces, the Kings won't dominant. But maybe that's not saying much, as despite leading the series 3-0, the level of play has been rather close.
None of that will matter though if the result is the same in 48 hours, and the Rangers know that.
"In a game like this every little play matters and it feels like they had the luck so far in these three games where it feels like the game has been pretty even, but they have been finding ways to get the big goals at the right times," said Lundqvist. "I guess and it's something we just have to accept and try to be a little better next game."