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Quick, Kings blank Rangers for 3-0 series lead
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The first Stanley Cup Finals game in New York in 20 years didn't go the way the Rangers hoped.
Backed by a 32-save shutout from Jonathan Quick, the Los Angeles Kings took a 3-0 win in Game 3 and are now just one victory away from their second Cup championship in three years.
Jeff Carter, Jake Muzzin and Mike Richards all scored for the Kings, who needed overtime in Game 1 and double-overtime in Game 2 to win their two games at home. They got a late goal in the first period in this one, however, then scored twice more in the second to back Quick's stellar effort.
Los Angeles can close out this series on Wednesday in Game 4 at Madison Square Garden.
"Played a solid game. No more than that," said Los Angeles head coach Darryl Sutter. "On the road you have to look at it like it's not the final game or anything like that. You have to look at it like you have to play a really solid road game."
Playing their first home game in the Cup Finals since a Game 7 win against Vancouver on June 14, 1994, the Rangers were hoping a familiar setting would get them in the win column. They were unable to solve Quick, though, and Henrik Lundqvist was victimized for all three goals on just 15 shots.
"He was obviously the best player on the ice tonight," said New York head coach Alain Vigneault about Quick. "Give them credit, though, because they found a way to put the puck past a real good goaltender and we couldn't do it."
If New York is to win this series, it will have to do something only four other teams have done in NHL playoff history -- win four straight games after falling in a 3-0 hole.
One of those clubs is the Kings, who rallied from a 3-0 deficit to the San Jose Sharks in the first round of this year's playoffs.
Shortly after killing off a New York penalty and with time winding down in the first period, the Kings skated down the other way. Justin Williams gained the zone through the middle, slipping over to the right before sending a short pass back to his left. Carter took the feed and snapped a shot from the top of the right circle that hit off the tip of the left skate blade of a diving Dan Girardi and in off the glove of Lundqvist with just 0.8 seconds left.
"Well, I know there wasn't a lot of shots on net," said Lundqvist about the goal. "But we felt we played a real good period, the pace was good, there wasn't a lot of room, both teams were battling real hard for ice. That was their only chance in the first period. We out-chanced them 4-1. We had some real good looks. Stuff like that happens."
It was the first time the Kings had a lead in a game since the third period of Game 6 of the Western Conference finals, a span of 249:14.
Los Angeles didn't have a power play in the first period, but Ryan McDonagh was called for high-sticking just 59 seconds into the second period. The Rangers penalty killers, though, did a good job of keeping the Kings from getting any quality chances.
However, another high-sticking call to New York, this time by Marc Staal, gave the Kings another power play just moments after the first one expired, and Los Angeles cashed in.
Holding the puck at the right point, Muzzin let loose with a wrister that knicked off Martin St. Louis and cruised past Lundqvist with Carter providing a screen in front at 4:17.
An elbowing whistle to Willie Mitchell gave New York its second power play of the game at 8:13, but Quick was on his game again as he made a stop on a Brad Richards right point shot, then stopped a Derick Brassard follow-up chance on the rebound.
Rick Nash got a shot on net from down low that Quick stopped. Nash was able to get the rebound and had the right side open for a wraparound as Quick was unable to get back, but Drew Doughty got a stick on Nash to keep him from getting a shot off. A hooking penalty to Doughty gave New York its third power play of the game with 8:07 left in the second.
New York, though, was only able to get a couple of shots on net before the advantage expired.
A 2-on-1 break saw the Kings take a three-goal advantage, as Richards skated down the left wing with Trevor Lewis on his right. Richards tried to feed the puck over to the right and McDonagh blocked it. The puck, though, went right back to Richards and he snapped it high with 2:46 left in the second.
Muzzin was whistled for interference with 2:16 to play in the second, but the Rangers couldn't get one past Quick.
Quick made 17 saves in the second period and was tested just eight seconds into the third as Chris Kreider came in on a break off the faceoff, but Quick turned it away.
A bit under four minutes later, Benoit Pouliot threw a shot on net from a sharp angle at the left side, but it went off the mask of Quick.
The Rangers were awarded two power plays in the final period, but were unable to get much going.
With just under 4 1/2 minutes to play, New York pulled Lundqvist for an extra skater, but the team wasn't able to get a shot on net before time expired.
There weren't many offensive chances in the first period as the teams combined for just nine shots, with Quick stopping four to keep the Rangers off the board.
The first chance of the game went to the Kings around 3 1/2 minutes in as Matt Greene's blast from the right point was swallowed up by Lundqvist with no rebound.
A bit later, Carl Hagelin attempted a wraparound from the right side that Quick stopped, and it was Hagelin again with a good chance as he one-timed a St. Louis pass from down low halfway through the frame, but Quick was there again.
The Rangers nearly grabbed the lead when Mats Zuccarello found himself all alone at the left side with a rebound chance, but Quick was able to dive back and use the stick to deflect the puck away with 7 1/2 minutes left.
Moments later, a Derek Dorsett one-timer from the right circle was also stopped by Quick.
The first and only power play of the period went to New York after Mitchell was whistled for high-sticking Zuccarello with 2:18 to play in the first. New York, though, managed just one chance on a Zuccarello one-timer from the right point that Quick knocked away.
The Western Conference has won three of the last four Stanley Cup championships ... It was Quick's second shutout of the playoffs, and ninth of his postseason career ... The Kings were 1-for-4 on the power play, and killed off all six New York power plays ... The last time there was a sweep in the Stanley Cup Finals was 1998, when the Red Wings blanked the Washington Capitals. That Cup Finals was the fourth straight sweep by the winning team ... Los Angeles forward Anze Kopitar had an assist in the game and has 21 helpers in the postseason. His 26 points leads all skaters in the postseason, while Carter and Williams are tied for second with 24 each.
06/10 00:38:57 ET
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