On the evening of June 9, what was Game 3 for the Kings in their Stanley Cup Final series against the New York Rangers, Madison Square Garden was hosting it’s first Stanley Cup Final game in 20 years.
It happened to be a rather lethargic showing for such an occasion.
But it made sense, because the Kings suffocated any chance of a celebration in NYC – by firing blanks.
After winning the first two games of their Stanley Cup Final series against the New York Rangers at STAPLES Center with a pair of thrilling OT victories, the Kings were looking to push the Rangers to the brink, vying for a win on the road in the only NHL building goaltender Jonathan Quick had yet to make a professional career appearance in.
The Kings recorded their lowest shot-total in any of their 26 playoff games on this night, registering a light sum of 15 pucks fired toward the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist, while Jonathan Quick faced – and staved away all 32 of New York’s shots.
Despite the low shot total, the Kings’ offense got ahead of Quick, giving the Kings, ironically, their first lead of the series, a series which they were leading two games to none.
What initially looked to be a broken play in the neutral zone for both clubs to wait-out the remaining ticks on the clock, defenseman Slava Voynov ripped a long-range pass to Justin Williams, who then fed a surging Jeff Carter, who roofed the game’s opening tally high and crispy to the top-right corner past Henrik Lundqvist.
With zero’s on the clock.
HERO AT ZERO
Carter’s opening goal was officially ruled as crossing the goal-line with :0.7 seconds left to play in the first period. For the Rangers, the roster and it’s fanbase, which was dearly looking for a positive push to overcome two confidence-killing OT losses to begin the series, were hit in arguably one of the worst ways possible.
In the hockey world, it’s a sin to allow a goal in the final seconds of a period, let alone the final second.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Quick was hard at work in his 74th straight postseason game as the Kings’ goaltender, pursuing what would be his ninth career NHL postseason shutout, the second of his playoff season – in his first-ever NHL appearance at Madison Square Garden.
The last goalie to play for the Kings in the postseason prior to Quick was Felix Potvin in 2002.
It was due to Jonathan Quick that Jeff Carter was able to give the Kings the first lead of the night. Quick shunned New York’s Mats Zuccarello midway through the first period with an outstanding stick-reach save.
The Rangers laid a barrage of shots on Quick during the final 40 minutes, New York out-shooting the Kings 28-10 during the final two periods of play.
Quick remained calm, and in minding a crease with a lead for the first time during the series, he looked to be at home; in the only building he had never previously occupied as an NHL goaltender.
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