Kings blank Rangers 3-0 to reach brink of Stanley Cup
AFP June 11, 2014, 12:01 am TWN
NEW YORK -- Jonathan Quick made 32 saves and the Los Angeles Kings reached the brink of a Stanley Cup Final sweep Monday with a 3-0 victory over the New York Rangers.
The Kings took a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven National Hockey League championship series and would complete a sweep for their second title in three seasons by winning game four Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
"Couldn't score," lamented Rangers coach Alain Vigneault. "(Quick) was obviously the best player on the ice tonight."
No team has swept the Stanley Cup Final since the Detroit Red Wings blanked the Washington Capitals in the 1998 NHL championship series.
Los Angeles also led New Jersey 3-0 in the 2012 final but needed six games to win the Cup.
"Really that has nothing to do with this series when you look," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "I mean, hell, we got thrown under the bus by everybody on earth seven weeks ago."
The Kings lost their first three games of the NHL playoffs then stunningly won four in a row to oust San Jose, won games six and seven to eliminate Anaheim and then dethroned defending champion Chicago in over-time of game seven in the Western Conference final.
As Quick played a starring role in 2012, he sparked the Kings on Monday, including 17 saves in the second period and 11 in the third.
"It was his best of game of the series," Sutter said.
Jeff Carter beat the buzzer with a wrist shot to score with 0.7 of a second remaining in the first period to give the Kings a 1-0 lead.
"That was their only chance in the first period," Vigneault said. "We out-chanced them 4-1. We had some real good looks. Stuff like that happens. We came out hard in the second and kept trying."
Shortly after killing off a penalty, Justin Williams skated across the blue line up the middle and flipped a short pass to his left for Carter, who fired a shot from the face-off circle that went into the goal off the glove of Rangers' goaltender Henrik Lundqvist of Sweden.
"Give them credit. They found a way to put the puck past a real good goaltender and we couldn't do it," said Vigneault.
Jake Muzzin added a power-play goal 4:17 into the second period to double the Los Angeles advantage.
The Kings stretched the lead to 3-0 with only 2:46 remaining in the second period when Mike Richards blasted a shot past Lundqvist.
Sutter said his club might have been better able to play the day after a cross-country flight for both teams because of the relatively longer travel required of them in the Western Conference, which stretches across much of the United States and Canada.
"We're used to the travel the day before," he said. "Being in the West, we do it a lot. We moved past all that fatigue part of it a couple days ago. You look at it as you have to play a really solid road game."
The Rangers went 0-for-6 on power-play chances while the Kings were 1-for-4 with an extra man on the ice due to penalties.
"You've got to finish in this game. It is a performance-oriented business," Vigneault said. "Power play had some looks, but it didn't finish."
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