It seems fortune continues to favor the Los Angeles Kings in this Stanley Cup final series. The Kings defeated the New York Rangers 3-0 on the road to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.
Jeff Carter scored his 10th goal of the playoffs to give the Kings the lead late in the first. Jake Muzzin added to the lead with a powerplay goal and Mike Richards sealed the deal with a late second period goal. Once again the Rangers heavily outshot the Kings 32-15 in the game but had nothing to show for it.
This is mostly due to the exceptional play of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. Quick proved his worth on the road stopping all 32 shots. He silenced the Rangers powerplay units with several acrobatic saves, including an amazing stick save on Matts Zuccarelo late in the second period.
This was Quick’s best game of the playoffs in my opinion. He fought through screens, challenged every shot and covered his angles really well all throughout the game. With this win, Quick now has two playoff shutouts this year and increased his career total to nine. The Los Angeles Kings finally were able to get the lead in the game and keep it. They took a page from the New York Rangers playbook and used their speed to attack the Rangers defence all game long.
The Kings were outplayed, but never took their foot off the gas when they got the lead. The Kings defensive core of Doughty and Greene did a wonderful job directing traffic and boxing out the Rangers. Greene also blocked three shots in the game as well.
Overall, this was a far more balanced game for the Los Angeles Kings. And now the Kings are just one win away from being crowned Stanley Cup champions.
For the Rangers this is yet another frustrating loss. They did everything right in my opinion. They outshot their opponent, provided lots of traffic in front of Quick and even outhit the Kings 25-18 by the end of the game. Rangers’ goalie Henrik Lundqvist can’t be blamed for any of the goals in my opinion.
Jeff Carter’s goal was a sniper shot with one second left in the period. The second goal deflected off Rangers forward Martin St. Louis. And Mike Richard’s deflected pass bounced right back to him and allowed him to easily beat a stunned Lundqvist. All these goals were terribly unlucky for the New York Rangers.
Nevertheless this is the spot the Rangers are in now. It doesn’t seem fair, but that’s the way playoff hockey goes sometimes. Perhaps some desperate hockey and the Rangers home crowd will give this team some life heading into game four.
But the Rangers must start converting some of their powerplay opportunities if they have any hope of prolonging this series. They went 0-6 in game three, which is what cost them the game.
The Los Angeles Kings just need to attack the Rangers early in order to keep the momentum. An early goal could cause the Rangers to become sloppy and give the Kings more chances to score. I can’t wait to see if the Rangers will be able respond with a win and prolong the series with a victory on home ice.