The Rangers have never found themselves this far behind this early in a series: down 2-0, and almost down and out before they even coming home to Madison Square Garden.
That is the hole the Rangers are in after a pair of overtime losses in Los Angeles to the Kings. And how they lost only adds to their disappointment.
The Rangers led 2-0 in the first period of both games, and they were up by two goals three times in Game 2 — including a 4-2 edge heading into the third period Saturday night. New York was 10-0 in the postseason when holding the lead after 40 minutes.
That loss has the Rangers on the brink of a quick exit unless they can turn things around in a hurry Monday in Game 3.
"Our guys are going to be real focused," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said Sunday after the team's cross-country flight home to New York. "We need to hold serve. We're back in our building. We've played some good hockey. We might feel that we deserve a better outcome than what we have right now, which is trailing by two games, but it doesn't matter.
The Kings aren't thrilled that they were forced to erase two-goal leads in three straight games to win in overtime, dating to their victory in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals at Chicago.
Yet comebacks have been Los Angeles' preferred method throughout the playoffs: rallying from a 3-0 deficit in the first round against San Jose and a 3-2 hole to eliminate the defending champion Blackhawks.
They even came back from another 3-2 deficit in the second round against Anaheim, after dropping three straight following a 2-0 start.
"You're never not of the belief that you can't come back or you're not going to win," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said Sunday upon arriving in New York. "We've played a lot of hockey in May and June over the past three seasons."
Now they will look to carry their success into Madison Square Garden on Monday night.