It is now all about pride and a bit of glimmer in the hope of climbing uphill. The New York Rangers hang by a thread in the Stanley Cup championships as they face a steep 0-3 deficit in the hands of the Los Angeles Kings. They play Game 4 at their home floor on Wednesday.
"We're down 3-0 (in the series). We're all lacking sleep. This is tough," Rangers Coach Alain Vigneault told reporters at Tuesday's somber practice.
"I didn't expect my players today to be cheery and upbeat."
Yahoo! Sports reported the Rangers to hoist the Stanley Cup for the first time in 20 years, they have to do the unthinkable and be only the second team to come back from a 0-3 hole.
The 1972 Toronto Maple Leafs are the only team in the Stanley Cup's history to stage the improbable and win from a 0-3 deficit way back in 1942 against the Detroit Red Wings.
They did it early in the tournament but not so in dire circumstances. New York was also down 1-3 against the Pittsburg Penguins in the semifinals but capitalized on the emotionally troubled Penguins to capture three wins in a row and complete the comeback.
"Right now it's about one game," Vigneault said. "That's as simple and logical and realistic as I can put it."
"If we want to continue to play, we have to win. We're facing the same exact situation we were against Pittsburgh: we lose, we're done. If we don't want to be done, we've got to win," the coach said.
The Rangers were poised to grab home court advantage from the Kings when they held two separate two-goal leads in the first two games of the series. While during Game 3 they were foiled by Jonathan Quick who provided a shutout for the Los Angeles team.
Despite staring at a seemingly insurmountable disadvantage, the Rangers still have faith that they are a few bounces away from leading the Final series.
"I would say 70 percent of the goals have been deflected from our guys or their guys," Rangers Goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who described his mood as angry, lamented.
"But it's part of the game. I feel like I'm in position. I feel like I'm tracking the puck pretty good. But it hasn't been enough, so I'm going to try to raise my level and try to help the team get the first one tomorrow."
Wednesday will determine if indeed the Rangers can raise their level of play and escape the distinction of being the team that got swept in the Stanley Cup Finals.