This time around, the Los Angeles Kings didn’t need any comeback heroics, and they finally got an opportunity to play with the lead and they never gave it up en rout to a 3-0 win over the New York Rangers and a 3-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Finals.
It looked like the teams were about to play a scoreless period for the first time in the series, but Jeff Carter took a pass in the slot from Justin Williams and wired a wrist shot past Henrik Lundqvist with just 0.7 seconds left to give the Kings the lead.
Each team had 3 power play opportunities in the second period, a frame dominated by the Rangers, but a guy named Jonathan Quick held firm in the Kings net. Quick made 17 saves in the period and his teammates rewarded him by scoring on 2 of their 8 shots. On a power play, with Jeff Carter firmly entrenched just outside the top of the crease providing the screen, Jake Muzzin‘s point shot eluded Lundqvist to make it 2-0 4:17 in. Mike Richards and Trevor Lewis broke in 2 on 1, and Ryan McDonagh blocked the pass attempt to Lewis. Unfortunately for the Rangers, the puck went right back to Richards who quickly snapped it past Lundqvist who had started to move across with the pass attempt and wasn’t able to get back into position for the shot.
From there, the only thing that was in doubt was whether Quick would record the shutout, as the Kings didn’t put forth much effort offensively and managed just 2 shots on goal. As time ticked down, the Rangers pulled Lundqvist with 4:21 left in the third in a desperate attempt to generate something positive. Their efforts were all turned away and in the dying seconds Quick made a nice save in a goalmouth scramble to preserve his 9th career playoff shutout, moving him into a tie for 11th all time with, among others, Lundqvist.
The Rangers power play really let them down, going 0-for-6 while the Kings went 1-for-4. Quick made 32 saves for his shutout, while the Kings beat Lundqvist 3 times on just 15 shots.
The Los Angeles Kings now have 4 chances to clinch their 2nd Stanley Cup in 3 years but would without a doubt prefer to end it with a sweep by winning game 4 on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.