New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault called Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals a virtual "must-win" for his team, saying a 3-0 hole would be as close to a death knell as possible.
"Tomorrow's as close to a 'must' game as I think we can have," Vigneault said Sunday after his team returned home from Los Angeles, according to ESPN.com.
"Until you face elimination, that's as close as we can get. ... There's a lot of good things that we're doing on the ice. There's a couple things that we need to clean up that we're going to address tomorrow with our group. But for the most part, we're given ourselves a real good chance, and that's what we're gonna try to do tomorrow."
On Monday night, the Rangers will take on the Los Angeles Kings in Madison Square Garden after two soul-crushing, overtime defeats in Los Angeles. New York has either led or been tied with the Kings until the final shots of both games. They have blown two-goal leads in both losses.
The Rangers are looking for their first title in 20 years, and a loss at home Monday night would severely complicate their path. Only one team in NHL history has overcome a 3-0 deficit to win the Stanley Cup Final — the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs over the Detroit Red Wings.
"Well, it's the biggest game that New York has had here in 20 years, so I think our fans are as excited as we are," Vigneault said of Monday's contest, according to ESPN.com. "People might be disappointed that we're down by two, but it obviously wasn't from lack of effort. We've played nine periods of hockey, and we've played some real solid hockey in there. It's a real good team. We know the challenge."