NEW YORK -- The Los Angeles Kings appear to have a stranglehold on the Stanley Cup Final against the New York Rangers heading into Game 3 on Monday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
But despite holding a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series after winning 5-4 in overtime Saturday, the Kings aren't satisfied with their overall performance.
They're hoping to improve on their mistakes in Game 3 and take a commanding 3-0 series lead in the process.
"There's plenty of room for improvement. We are well aware of the circumstances coming into the game," forward Justin Williams said. "Could we be coming in here 0-2? Yes. Could it be tied? Absolutely. But we found a way to get it done. We're proud of that, but we know you don't want to give any life to this team."
Getting a two-game lead in the Cup Final hasn't been easy for the Kings. They didn't hold a lead at any point in regulation during the first two games, winning twice in overtime after surviving a number of turnovers. They also were forced to overcome a two-goal deficit in each game, including a 4-2 hole in the third period of Game 2.
Facing a tough test in front of an MSG crowd seeing its first Cup Final game in 20 years, they're primarily focused on remedying their mistakes from the two games in L.A.
"We're not satisfied. We know we're not playing our best hockey and we've got more to bring. I think tonight's a perfect night to do that," forward Tyler Toffoli said. "Less turnovers, being smarter with the puck. One of the things they strive on is turnovers. When there's a turnover, there are three or four guys ready to go on offense. If we keep turning them back and getting pucks deep and getting shots, it's what we have to do."
To their credit, L.A.'s players aren't paying any attention to the fanfare and distractions surrounding the Garden's first Cup Final game in two decades. Their only focus is winning Game 3.
"Obviously MSG is a loud building and a fun building to play in, but that's more of a story for you guys than something we think about," defenseman Alec Martinez said. "I feel like a bit of a broken record, but we're obviously not too happy with the process of the past three games. We stuck with our game plan and were able to come back in those games. But that's not a good habit to be in, especially against a hockey club like the one across the building here."
Martinez scored the overtime winner against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final, another game in which the Kings never led. So despite being in an enviable position heading into Game 3 of the Cup Final, the Kings are hoping to make some important changes.
Those changes aren't likely to include an appearance from veteran defenseman Robyn Regehr. After recently returning from injury, Regehr skated with Jeff Schultz during practice Monday, indicating he probably will not play. Kings coach Darryl Sutter didn't reveal any details about his lineup for Game 3, but it looks like L.A. will be fielding the same group.
Here are the projected lineups:
Dustin Brown – Anze Kopitar – Marian Gaborik
Tanner Pearson – Jeff Carter – Tyler Toffoli
Dwight King – Jarret Stoll – Justin Williams
Kyle Clifford – Mike Richards – Trevor Lewis
Jake Muzzin – Drew Doughty
Willie Mitchell - Slava Voynov
Alec Martinez - Matt Greene
Scratched: Robyn Regehr, Colin Fraser, Jeff Schultz, Jordan Nolan
Rick Nash – Derek Stepan – Chris Kreider
Carl Hagelin – Brad Richards – Martin St. Louis
Benoit Pouliot – Derick Brassard – Mats Zuccarello
Dominic Moore – Brian Boyle – Derek Dorsett
Ryan McDonagh – Dan Girardi
Marc Staal – Anton Stralman
John Moore – Kevin Klein
Scratched: Raphael Diaz, Justin Falk, Jesper Fast, J.T. Miller
Injured: Cam Talbot (undisclosed)
Suspended: Daniel Carcillo