But it was more than that. The Rangers just flat-out missed burying wide-open scoring chances, even when Quick wasn't feeding the talk that he, not Lundqvist, is the best goaltender in the league. And although it's true the Rangers are losing because somehow, someway, they desperately needed Lundqvist to be the difference in this series, that's not the only reason they lost Monday. For the first time in this series, all of the Rangers' top players -- from McDonagh to Girardi, from Lundqvist to Marc Staal to Martin St. Louis to Nash -- were outplayed. The Kings finally raised their level -- and the Rangers couldn't keep up, which was another hard truth about this game.
Afterward, at least Rangers coach Alain Vigneault didn't give much credence to the muttering coming out of his locker room about bad luck.
"This is a performance business," Vigneault quietly said. "They got the puck past a pretty good goaltender. And we couldn't."
They'll all be back at the Garden on Wednesday to try again, as the Rangers look to rally, the same as they did after falling behind 3-1 against Pittsburgh. That's the slim hope the Rangers will carry into Game 4.
"It's not over yet," McDonagh insisted.
It just feels that way.