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Coronation close: Kings blank Rangers, one win away from Stanley Cup

Jun 9, 2014, 11:11 PM EST

KingsWinMSG Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings as close as they can get to hoisting Lord Stanley’s Mug.

The Rangers, meanwhile, couldn’t feel further away from it.

That was the story from Madison Square Garden on Monday night, as the Kings dispatched of the Rangers 3-0 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, taking a commanding 3-0 series lead to move within one victory of their second Cup in three years.

On a night of storylines, it’s hard to say which was more compelling — L.A. continuing its uncanny ability to grind out results, or New York getting absolutely deflated in what, heading in, was hyped as the biggest hockey game in the city in the last 20 years.

The acts of deflation were plenty, and consistent. Jonathan Quick took the air out of MSG in the early stages of the opening period, saving  what looked to be a Mats Zuccarello goal with his paddle. Then, at the tail end of the frame, Jeff Carter sucked further life out of the arena by scoring with 0.8 seconds left — to give L.A. its first lead of the series.

Even though the deficit was one goal, you got the feeling the Rangers were cooked.

Some of it had to do with that deflating feeling, but most of it had to do with Quick. The Kings goalie put forth his best effort of the Stanley Cup Final — and, really, his best effort in a couple of weeks, given his struggles in the Chicago series — finishing with a 32-save shutout for his first clean sheet since Game 5 of the opening series against San Jose.

While Quick was doing his thing, his L.A. teammates continued to add to their lead.

Jake Muzzin scored his sixth of the playoffs on the power play early in the second period, and Mike Richards scored his third at 17:17 to cap off the scoring for good. While this was happening, New York kept finding new ways to let the air out of the building — the Rangers went 0-for-6 on the power play in Game 3, putting them at 1-for-14 overall in the series.

For the Rangers, tonight’s game was the latest in a series filled with frustration and disappointment. The Rangers blew four two-goal leads in the opening two games in L.A. and couldn’t muster a win despite twice taking the Kings to overtime; on Monday, the Blueshirts failed to take advantage of a loud, partisan home crowd that seemed desperate for something to cheer for.

Looking ahead, the Rangers also now face the prospect of having to deal with a dialed-in Quick, who hasn’t allowed a goal in over 110 minutes of action.

For the Kings, tonight’s game got them to the brink of another Cup, and provided some symmetry. The script is eerily similar to how they won the Cup in 2012. — two years ago, they beat the Devils in OT in the opening two games before capturing Game 4 by a 4-0 scoreline; this year, they again won two overtime games to start the series before capturing the third, 3-0.

The 2012 Stanley Cup Final did end up going to Game 6, though, which begs the question: Will the Rangers find a way to extend this series on Wednesday, or will we see our first finals sweep since Detroit broomed Washington in 1998?

  1. charlieconway96 - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    With all of the come from behind wins and long series, it actually felt pretty good to just relax and watch a game rather than sit sweating and shaking.

  2. bigblueapple - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:14 PM

    Do you remember when the Devils made the finals in 2012? No one does, and no one will remember the Rangers made the finals this year either.

    • nightfireop - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:24 PM

      silence bigblueapple! this is a 7 game series; it’s not over until it’s over.

      • McFaddensPulledHammy - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:30 PM

        It’s over. The Rangers are not mentally tough to come back. When your reliance is on #61, you are done.

    • 950003cups - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:42 PM

      You got some set of stones with that comment. Islanders haven’t sniffed a shot at the cup since Brodeur was born. I believe the last time the islanders won a cup, they had Chico Resch on the team.

      • geauxshawx - Jun 10, 2014 at 2:48 AM

        That doesn’t change the FACT, it’s over!

      • tuberippin - Jun 10, 2014 at 2:54 AM

        Meh. At this end of this series, the Rags, Devs, Flyers, and Isles will all be sitting at home without a title.

    • fpstratton - Jun 10, 2014 at 6:41 PM

      But that really shouldn’t be. The Rangers made enormous strides during this playoff run. True hockey fans do remember the teams that make if to the finals. This team has great promise and needs to retool just a little bit to make it back here next year. It’s a shame Nash and Richards have underperformed, or this could have been a closer series….but it ain’t over yet.

  3. mackattack29 - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:18 PM

    6 powerplays!?! No goals. Just wow. Congrats to the kings pk. And congrats to Jonathon Quick. But but but…. They only win because the refs are on the kings side… lol BRING OUT THE BROOMS BABY!! Time for a SWEEP! Hahahaha

    • stakex - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:23 PM

      No one ever said the Kings only win because the refs were on their side. Only that the Kings received a couple significant breaks, due to poor officiating, that directly helped them win one of the games in the series. Big difference there.

      • cybernetikghost - Jun 10, 2014 at 2:17 AM

        Breaks go both ways. The only reason that the Kings’ seem so significant is becaus they won the game. When you have a 2-goal lead, it should hold up a little better than that. There has been a lot of fuss made about the Dwight King non call, but it’s not like it was the only goal scored in that game. If the arguement is momentum, it doesn’t stand up against a team that was down 3 games in round 1.

      • fpstratton - Jun 10, 2014 at 6:43 PM

        But the Rangers still had the lead when the controversial goal was scored. I would say it indirectly helped the Kings in game 2, but they still had to put two more pucks past the great Henryk Lundqvist. In the meantime, New York didn’t score again.

    • charlieconway96 - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:24 PM

      Would a pretty insane ending to an insane and historic playoff run!

    • McFaddensPulledHammy - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:28 PM

      Hockey Gods are smiling at the Kings. Before you Angelinos lose your minds, the Kings deserve to be where they are. But, the Hockey Gods are smiling at you when you are on a 2 on 1, shoot a puck, it gets blocked, and bounces right back to the guy who shot it for a perfect shot.

      Carter shoots the puck, it bounces off the skate blade of a sprawling defender and goes in the net.

      Again, all props to the Kings. But they are getting ALL THE BOUNCES THEIR WAY.

      • rocoop - Jun 10, 2014 at 12:05 AM

        Hmmmm…I remember in game one a puck going in the net off of Voynov’s skate after a Quick stop…Spin it anyway you want though

      • blomfeld - Jun 10, 2014 at 12:05 AM

        we usually refer to this as ‘God’s will’ friend … :)

        GO KINGS GO !!! … TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOREVER !!!! :) :) :)

  4. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:20 PM

    So the first round was everything a fan could want, then everything went downhill from there.

    All my backing to the Lightening redux and the King, and Nash. I’m not saying there’s a less deserving Cup-winning fanbase than LA….but I don’t know how to finish that sentence.

  5. jason9696 - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:24 PM

    The Rangers power play was absolutely horrible tonight. I think they are something like 0 for their last 30 power plays at home. Maybe they should decline their next one.

    Jonathan Quick made 2 of the best saves you’re ever going to see tonight. And all 3 of the Kings goals were kind of flukey.

    I don’t see much hope if you’re a Rangers fan.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Jun 10, 2014 at 1:16 AM

      This loss is totally on the Rangers staff. Making Mark Messier a healthy scratch? Ridiculous.

    • geauxshawx - Jun 10, 2014 at 2:38 AM

      And what about the Free-Rangers’ goals? Oh, that’s right… As was mentioned above, Voynov kicked one in for blues(singing) shirts, too.

  6. McFaddensPulledHammy - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:24 PM

    As I’ve said before, Rick Nash is way overrated.

    As a fan of the Blackhawks, I watched them try to dump and chase to no avail on the Kings. i guess no one on the Rangers coaching staff watched any of the WCF because when the Hawks tried to dump and chase, they had ZERO success. When they carried the puck into the zone or played chip and chase, they could establish their game and had some success. Why the Rangers were playing dump and chase against this team is beyond me.

    • kaptaanamerica - Jun 10, 2014 at 2:28 AM

      Exactly. You dump and chase and that plays right into the hands of the Kings. The reason they were playing dump and chase is cuz AV is the kind of coach who can’t make adjustments that actually work…

      • fpstratton - Jun 10, 2014 at 6:37 PM

        I think AV has done a tremendous job with the Rangers. Thus far in the series, they were outgunned, although barely, in the first two games. Yesterday, they were just outplayed, period.

  7. ludacrish05 - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:25 PM

    Good point, bigblueapple

  8. 950003cups - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:25 PM

    Crawled allllll the way to the finals, signed all those buttheads to lifetime contracts, and got their collective butts whooped by a team who just played 3 game sevens.

    When the Devils faced them, they were 14 games in. Rangers had them at 21 games in.

    HE WHO LAUGHS LAST!!!

    LOLOL!!!

    • geauxshawx - Jun 10, 2014 at 2:44 AM

      As a Shawx fan (yet a Western Conf fan) all I can say is, “Welcome to my nightmare!”

  9. afce22 - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:29 PM

    Congrats to the Kings on this one, they played the perfect road game. I won’t concede until the 4th game is won, but that’s a very good team that knows how to do what’s necessary to win.

  10. stakex - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:39 PM

    Quick played very well tonight, and the Rangers power play continued to be just as bad under AV as it was under Torts (probably worse in fact). On top of that, the Kings buried their chances when they had them and generated some fortunate bounces. Needless to say this game went about as bad for the Rangers as it possibly could have, and reminded me a lot of game three of the Pens series. Needless to say, I don’t see a miracle comeback here…. I just hope that when the Kings win, they do it at home. Its always depressing to see a team win the Cup on the road.

    Side Note: Can’t wait for the Rangers to buy Brad Richards out. Who ever wrote that article before about him being sooo much better this year is an idiot. Far from being a long ways removed from being a healthy scratch last year, he probably should have been a healthy scratch tonight.

    • thefutureofoil - Jun 10, 2014 at 12:32 PM

      Yeah, Richards is a liability.

  11. pirovash88 - Jun 10, 2014 at 12:00 AM

    7 weeks ago people were laughing at us and our Team. 3 rounds and games later we’re one step away from taking it all, incredible.

    • blomfeld - Jun 10, 2014 at 12:14 AM

      Indeed comrade Pirovash, though these people sure aren’t laughing now eh ? Anyway, there’s still work to be done, so ‘on with the show’ as Ed Sullivan might have once said …

      GO KINGS GO !!! … TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOREVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

    • kaptaanamerica - Jun 10, 2014 at 2:33 AM

      Hold on Hold on.. I wasn’t laughing at the Kings, in fact, I got/ was on board when all the scum bags were pronouncing them dead and buried at the hands of the Sharks…

      If you’ll recall, I called for public apologies from all those who were gloating and badmouthing blomfeld at the time about how the Kings were done.

      never underestimate the ability of any team with jumbo joe to lose in the playoffs…

      • blomfeld - Jun 10, 2014 at 3:05 PM

        I remember that … thank you friend :)

  12. Professor Fate - Jun 10, 2014 at 12:20 AM

    The Rangers got up 2-0 twice (and 3-1 and 4-2), but stopped playing their game. (You could make the argument that it took the Kings awhile to corral the Rangers in the first two games.) The Kings got ahead for the first time in this series and didn’t change their game at all. The Kings always go at it as though they’re behind. That’s the difference in this series. Well, that and Quick has finally reverted to his 2012 form.

  13. hrudey - Jun 10, 2014 at 12:24 AM

    Listening to Nash now, talking about how they’ve had good efforts in all three games. The Kings have sounded like they’ve been unhappy with their performances all along. You’d have a hard time figuring out which team was up 3-0 and which was down if you just went with the players’ description of their efforts. Then again, maybe that’s exactly why one team is up 3-0 and the other is not. The Rangers are a formidable foe and certainly won’t quit, but the Kings are a championship club and may hate to lose more than any team in the sport’s history.

  14. cybernetikghost - Jun 10, 2014 at 2:26 AM

    As a fairly long time Kings fan, I can’t help but think that it is still completely within their power to screw this up; however, being one win away from going to another parade…. wow.

    • fpstratton - Jun 10, 2014 at 6:35 PM

      Not this group, my friend. We won’t celebrate until the fourth game is won, and as Mike Richards said, that’s the hardest one to win, but there is nothing in common between Sutter’s Kings and the 45 other squads that preceded them except the name.

  15. tuberippin - Jun 10, 2014 at 3:00 AM

    You know who’s going to enjoy this championship the most?

    Marion Gaborik.

  16. suckit619 - Jun 10, 2014 at 5:54 PM

    What an awful Finals. Too bad the Rangers never decided to show up… Letting a barely above average team on a lucky/hot streak get one game away from a sweep. It’s too bad the elite teams were struck by some bad luck or else we could’ve had another great finals like last year…

    • fpstratton - Jun 10, 2014 at 6:33 PM

      What great teams are you referring to?

      The Kings beat them all: San Jose, Anaheim, and Chicago had outstanding regular seasons. Pittsburgh is not an elite team, given their playoff performance the last five seasons. Boston is the closest to an elite team that the Kings didn’t beat on their way to where they are now, but the Eastern Conference just isn’t as strong as the West.

      The Kings are barely above average? Are you pulling everybody’s leg? Probably.

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