Kings crush Rangers to reach brink of Stanley Cup
The Los Angeles Kings moved to the brink of reclaiming the Stanley Cup by beating the New York Rangers 3-0 on Monday at Madison Square Garden to take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven National Hockey League title series.
The Kings, who have done their business the hard way in their playoff run with three game seven wins on the road and battled back after falling behind by two goals in each of their two wins at home, changed the script in their visit to Broadway.
A last-second goal at the end of the first period by Jeff Carter gave the Kings a 1-0 lead, and the Western Conference champions increased their advantage with second-period goals by Jake Muzzin and Mike Richards.
Goalie Jonathan Quick was brilliant at the net, stopping all 32 of New York’s shots on goal for the Kings, who can clinch their second Cup in three years with a victory at the Garden in game four on Wednesday.
The winners converted three of their modest 15 shots on goal, while Quick saved all 32 shots from the Rangers, who failed to take advantage of six power play chances.
“He was obviously the best player on the ice,” said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter said the power play was the key. “They didn’t score on any of them,” Sutter said.
“I think the second period was probably the most important part. We scored on the power play and they didn’t. That’s a big difference.”
Now it is the Rangers who must be comeback kings if they are to win their second Cup in 20 years and third since 1940.
Only one team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit to win the final – the Toronto Maple Leafs, who notched four successive wins to beat the Detroit Red Wings in 1942.
“We’re happy we’re up 3-0,” said right-winger Justin Williams, who vowed the Kings would not suffer from overconfidence since they stormed back from a 3-0 deficit in the first round to beat San Jose.
“But we know as good as anybody that 3-0 is not four. Just because you’re leading the series doesn’t mean you’ve won anything.”