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NHL

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Game 5
New York
at Los Angeles
Series: Kings lead 3-1
When: 8 p.m. today
TV: NBC

Rangers happy to be headed to Los Angeles

– The same cracks that appeared in the Rangers’ defense at crucial times in the first three games of the Stanley Cup final resurfaced in Game 4. But with a little more fortitude, they were able to stave off elimination and salvage a 2-1 victory over the Kings on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Defenseman Dan Girardi, whose broken stick led to the Kings’ only goal in the second period, rebounded with five of his six blocked shots in the third period when the Kings had a 15-1 advantage in shots on goal.

As much as anybody, Girardi understood the Rangers survived on guts, determination and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

“I’ve never been so happy to have a long flight and a time change,” Girardi said of the Rangers’ cross-country trek to Los Angeles for Game 5 tonight at Staples Center.

“I don’t think it was our best game of the series by any means, but that’s how it’s been going for us,” Girardi added.

The Rangers scored the first goal for the third time in the series and nearly threw away that lead within a couple minutes when a puck slipped under Lundqvist and slid slowly toward and onto the goal line.

The Kings’ Jeff Carter took a poke at it, but his stick was detoured by Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman, whose blade flicked the puck away before it crossed.

“I saw the puck, and all I tried to do was get the stick out and, obviously, the puck, as well,” Stralman said. “I got a little lucky and was able to save it.”

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