Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kings take stranglehold on Cup Final

Fifteen shots normally might suggest that the outcome on the night wasn't quite what had been hoped for. But when you put three of the fifteen in the net and hold off an opposition attack that featured 32 shots and no goals, things, one might say are going your way.

As the final moments of Game three played out in New York City, the Los Angeles Kings on the strength of some stellar goal tending from Jonathan Quick now find themselves but one victory away from another skate around the rink with Lord Stanley's Cup.

It's no surprise, that when you do a word count on the reviews of last nights 3-0 Kings victory, the name of Jonathan Quick probably top the list. He was that dominating on Monday night, that pivotal to the Kings holding a three games to none lead in the best of 7 Stanley Cup final.

32 shots, no goals last night, three games of strong play and no wins so far in the series, the frustration level for the Rangers must be getting close to being off the charts by this point.

From the lost opportunities of the first two games, which saw the Kings come back from deficits to claim a pair of home ice victories, to the overwhelming control of play that went unrewarded from the Hockey Gods on Monday night, the Rangers are quickly running out of time and opportunity to launch what would be a comeback for the ages.

For Rangers fans, a frantic first period turned to disaster with but one tick of the clock to go, as a Jeff Carter shot deflected off the seemingly star crossed Dan Girardi, the puck finding its way into the back of the net and providing the Kings with an opening goal to take into the second period.

The night of bad bounces continued in the second as Jake Muzzin  on the Kings power play, fired a puck from the point that drifted off the glove of Martin St. Louis, with Henrik Lundqvist left to watch helplessly as the puck claimed the net and pushed the Kings lead to 2 goals.

Mike Richards put the finishing touches on the Rangers late in the second period, an attempted pass deflecting off of Ryan McDonagh and coming right back to Richards who suddenly found a gaping bit of space and a Henrik Lundqvist going in the opposite direction, an opportunity presented for Richards to shovel the Kings third goal of the night towards its destination.

It's been that kind of a series for the Rangers, who must feel as though after three rounds of a story that could have been a movie plot, they now find that it's morphing into a horror flick of epic Hollywood proportions.

What's left for Alain Vigneault to do, is to try and wring every ounce of energy and push back from his team for Wednesday's Game Four. A task that is providing as vivid an example as there could be, of filling the quota on taking things one game at a time.

One item for motivation purposes may be to point to the competition for Wednesday, highlighting how the Kings down 3-0 to the San Jose Sharks battled back to salvage that series and launch their lengthy march to the Stanley Cup Final.

The only problem for Mr. Vigneault, the Kings, they aren't playing like the Sharks.

And the Rangers, it would appear, have exhausted any kind of puck luck reserve that would come in handy right about now.

The Stanley Cup will be back at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night, making an appearance for the first time since a Ranger Stanley Cup victory in 1994.

If the Gallery Gods of Madison Square hope to see it back for an encore, the home side is going to have to find a way to solve Mr. Quick and shut down a Kings team that plays as tenacious a game as seen in a long time.

So daunting is the challenge ahead for the Rangers that even the ticket scalpers of New York City have run up the white flag, with asking prices for Game Four down 20 per cent and falling.

When you've lost the ticket scalpers, the omens for the Rangers would appear truly dire.

The Boxscore and recap of Game three can be found here.

Some views of Game three can be found below:

Luck has left the building for the Rangers
Jonathan Quick at his best puts Kings at doorstep of Cup championship
Kings on verge of second Stanley Cup title after 3-0 win over Rangers
Kings' run to the Stanley Cup could be the best L. A. has ever seen
One more win and Kings will be in a Stanley Cup championship state of mind
Los Angeles Kings put it all together in win over New York Rangers
Jonathan Quick shuts out NY Rangers as Kings take 3-0 series lead
NY Rangers try Rick Nash on power play, but still ineffective
Jonathan Quick and King erase excitement and hope out of NY Rangers and Madison Square Garden
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick makes memorable debut at MSG in Stanley Cup Final
Jonathan Quick has Kings on verge of another crown
Jonathan Quick comes up big for Kings
Los Angeles Kings' Jonathan Quick shuts out New York Rangers to take 3-0 lead in Stanley Cup Final
Jonathan Quick saving Kings
Rangers down, all but out

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