NEW YORK (WFAN) — Don’t count Mark Messier as one of the many who think the Stanley Cup Final is already over.
The NHL Hall of Famer told WFAN’s Mike Francesa that despite having lost the first two games in Los Angeles the Rangers are in pretty good shape heading into Game 3 at home on Monday night, all things considered.
“If I’m the Rangers I’m feeling pretty good and confident,” Messier said. “They had every opportunity and every right to win both of those games, not one of them. So I don’t look at the Rangers needing to change much. You know, they gotta capitalize on their opportunities – if they get them, when they get them. They do that I wouldn’t change much.”
The Rangers dropped the first two games to the Kings in agonizing fashion, both in overtime and both after blowing a big lead.
New York led 2-0 in Game 1 only to fall 3-2 on Justin Williams’ snipe off a turnover early in overtime. That loss was bad, but at the time wasn’t the end of the world. Saturday night’s 5-4 defeat in double overtime was a lot more demoralizing considering the Rangers blew three two-goal leads before Dustin Brown deflected home a point shot midway through the second sudden death session.
The Kings have owned the third period so far, outscoring the Rangers 2-0 and outshooting them 32-10.
Messier said it’s easy to get overwhelmed, but it would be a lot worse had the Rangers dropped the first two at home and were heading on the road for Game 3 instead of playing at Madison Square Garden.
“I think any time you lose a game in the playoffs, it’s disappointing. I can never remember losing a game in the playoffs and not feeling terrible and (having) sleepless, restless nights,” said Messier, who won six Stanley Cups as a player during his 25-year career, including leading the Rangers to their historic 1994 championship.
“You gotta be able to get up in the morning there with renewed enthusiasm and another opportunity, and both teams have shown the ability to do that,” Messier added.
The difference is the Rangers have very little margin of error.
Messier knows that scenario all too well. During the run to the cup in 1994, the Rangers battled back from 3-1 down in the Eastern Conference finals to take out the Devils in seven games. They then blew a 3-1 lead in the Stanley Cup Final before finally vanquishing the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 at home, ending a 54-year drought between championships.
Messier spoke to Francesa about many other things, including winning the cup in 1994. To hear the entire interview, please click on the link below: