Jun 9, 2014, 11:11 PM EST
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?
Nov 28, 2014, 1:35 AM EST
Has appeared in five games with Chicago this season.
Nov 28, 2014, 12:15 AM EST
Forsberg scores the OT winner.
Nov 27, 2014, 10:50 PM EST
Shea Weber covered the puck in the crease.
Nov 27, 2014, 10:35 PM EST
Flyers play host to the Rangers Friday afternoon.
Nov 27, 2014, 9:30 PM EST
Was a healthy scratch in nine games.
Nov 27, 2014, 8:30 PM EST
X-rays on knee cap came back negative.
Nov 27, 2014, 7:30 PM EST
Struggled in the American Hockey League this season.
Nov 27, 2014, 6:30 PM EST
Expected to formally announce his retirement next Thursday morning.
Nov 27, 2014, 5:15 PM EST
Talented center would be a prized pickup at the deadline.
Nov 27, 2014, 4:00 PM EST
Patrick Roy doesn’t own part of a junior team anymore.
Nov 27, 2014, 2:41 PM EST
Incident occurred during Wednesday’s Jets-Sabres game.
Nov 27, 2014, 2:27 PM EST
Linden Vey gets back into the lineup for tomorrow’s game in Columbus.
Nov 27, 2014, 2:12 PM EST
Dallas forward has history as a repeat offender.
Nov 27, 2014, 2:03 PM EST
That’s a picture of Shawn Thornton, who doesn’t play for them anymore.
Nov 27, 2014, 1:59 PM EST
Just two goals in 20 games this year.
Nov 27, 2014, 1:16 PM EST
Devils currently sit 12th in the Eastern Conference.
Nov 27, 2014, 12:29 PM EST
Played in 14 games over parts of the last three seasons.
Nov 27, 2014, 12:17 PM EST
Following Tuesday’s “mind-numbing” change in Dallas.
Nov 27, 2014, 12:02 PM EST
Big boost for Nashville, who hosts Edmonton tonight.
Nov 27, 2014, 11:44 AM EST
That’s the feeling, at least.
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