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Kings blank Rangers, move within one win of Cup

by Dan Rosen /

NEW YORK -- Jonathan Quick made his mark on the 2014 Stanley Cup Final by playing like he did in 2012.

Now the Los Angeles Kings are one win away from partying like they did two years ago.

Quick, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner in the Kings' first Stanley Cup championship run, turned aside 32 shots Monday and Los Angeles got goals from Jeff Carter, Jake Muzzin and Mike Richards to beat the New York Rangers 3-0 in Game 3 at Madison Square Garden.

The Kings, who won each of the first two games of this series in overtime despite never holding a lead in regulation, lead the best-of-7 series 3-0. They can win the Stanley Cup for the second time in team history with a victory in Game 4 on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"That was his best game of the playoffs," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said of Quick. "He played fantastic for us. He made some big saves, saves he had no business making. His rebound control was good, his puckhandling was good, everything about his game was great and he was a big reason why we won."

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist faced 15 shots and stopped 12, but two of the goals went off his own guys. He was pulled for an extra skater with 4:21 to play in the third period, but the Kings locked the game down and didn't allow New York another shot on goal.

"They found a way to put the puck past a real good goaltender, and we couldn't do it," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.

Carter scored with 0.8 seconds remaining in the first period on a shot that deflected off Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi's skate and then Lundqvist's catching glove. Muzzin scored at 4:17 of the second on a shot that hit Martin St. Louis.

Richards made it 3-0 at 17:14 of the second with a shot over Lundqvist's right pad after his pass to Trevor Lewis on a 2-on-1 hit New York defenseman Ryan McDonagh's skate and came right back to him.

"You try to stay positive right now, but it's tough. It's really tough," Lundqvist said. "I think we're doing a lot of good things, but when you look at the goals, you know, we put two in our net and just a tough play on the third one. At some point you're going to have to need some puck luck and we don't have any right now. It feels like they have all of it."

To win the Stanley Cup, the Rangers will need more than just puck luck. They'll have to do something only four teams in NHL history, including the Kings this year, have done; win four in a row after losing the first three games of a series.

The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs are the only team that did it in the Final. Since 1982, nine teams have lost the first three games of the Final; only one of those teams extended the series past four games. It was the New Jersey Devils, against these same Kings, two years ago. The Devils lost in six games.

The Rangers are 0-11 in best-of-7 series after losing the first three games. They forced Game 7 once, against the Boston Bruins in the 1939 Semifinals.

"We've gotten out of deficits before," said McDonagh, referring to the 3-1 hole the Rangers climbed out of in the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Pittsburgh Penguins. "We believe in each other in here. We're just going to keep preparing the same way and come out with everything we've got. We've got nothing to save it for now."

The Stanley Cup Final hasn't ended in a sweep since 1998, when the Detroit Red Wings did it against the Washington Capitals.

"Nothing is done, nothing is finished," Quick said. "We still have a lot of work to do."

Not as much as they would have had if Quick didn't come through with a vintage performance.

He made timely saves to help the Kings win Games 1 and 2 in overtime at Staples Center, but he still only had a .907 save percentage (six goals against on 65 shots) in the Cup Final coming into Game 3. Quick lifted his save percentage for the series to .938 with his performance in Game 3.

"We know what he's capable of," Kings center Anze Kopitar said of Quick. "That's why we love having him back there."

The Kings were looking for a better start in Game 3 after falling behind 2-0 in each of the first two games. Quick made sure they didn't fall behind again, making a stick save (with some help from the left post) on Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello with 7:26 remaining in the first period.

Zuccarello had the puck alone and an empty net to shoot at, until Quick lunged back and reached across the crease with his stick. The puck appeared to hit the near post, but Quick's stick appeared to strike Zuccarello's stick before the shot as well.

"It was an empty-net goal, and he got a piece of it," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "Again, we've been talking about getting off to a better start and that allowed us to get our legs going and not fall behind early."

Quick was at his best in the second period, when he made 17 saves, including nine with the Rangers on the power play. He had 21 saves through two periods and the Rangers were 0-for-4 on the power play. New York failed two more times on the power play in the third period.

Quick was so good, and so frustrating to the Rangers, that he had New York center Derick Brassard muttering to himself and punching the glass after he denied him on a rebound attempt during a Rangers' power play at 9:40 of the second period.

As if Brassard weren't frustrated enough, Quick denied him again with a paddle save 40 seconds later.

Quick also stopped Rangers forward Chris Kreider on a mini-breakaway in the first 10 seconds of the third period. The Kings were leading 3-0 at that point.

"I thought he stood on his head," Doughty said. "He's always our backbone. He always is."


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