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Quick's shutout pushes Kings to brink of Cup

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jun 09 2014 09:59:06 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 09 2014 11:44:54 PM CDT
Kings Rangers Game 3

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK -

Jonathan Quick's first performance at Madison Square Garden, when he was 12, was very brief.

He was a goalie as a "Pee Wee Ranger," participating in a shootout competition between periods of a New York Rangers game. Quick, 28, grew up in Milford, Conn., rooting for the Rangers.

On Monday in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, the Los Angeles Kings goalie returned to the Garden for the first time since he was a kid, and he moved his team to the brink of a championship.

Quick stopped 32 shots in the Kings' 3-0 win over the Rangers, giving Los Angeles a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. The Kings are one win away from claiming the Stanley Cup for the second time in three seasons.

Los Angeles, which captured its first championship in 2012 by defeating the New Jersey Devils in finals, received goals from centers Mike Richards and Jeff Carter and defenseman Jake Muzzin.

Game 4 is Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.

Teams leading the Stanley Cup finals 3-0 went on to win the series 25 of 26 times since the NHL implemented the best-of-seven format in 1939. The only club to overcome a 3-0 series deficit to win the Cup was the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, who rallied against the Detroit Red Wings.

"I think it's fair to say anybody who is not thinking about that (winning the Cup) going into the next game is not being honest," Kings right winger Dustin Brown said. "At the same time, we've had the ability to not look too far ahead.

"We've also had the experience of being up 3-0, so we need to lean on each other and be ready to go."

The mild-mannered Quick, the son-in-law of former Ranger Mike Backman and the brother-in-law of former New York Islander Matt Moulson, earned the ninth playoff shutout of his career.

"It's the best (Quick) has played in this series," Rangers forward Brad Richards said. "He made some big saves that could have changed the game for sure."

New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made 12 saves.

"I am just extremely disappointed that we are in this hole," Lundqvist said. "We have been talking about it after every game that we played really well, but in the end, it's about finding ways to win. It's not about playing great, it's about winning.

"We have to regroup. It's not over."

The Rangers went 0-for-6 with the man advantage, making them 1-for-14 in the series.

"I think when things don't work, we try to switch it up a bit, but special teams are the difference in this league," Rangers forward Rick Nash said.

Unlike the first two games of the series, in which the Kings had to battle back from deficits, eventually winning in overtime, Game 3 was never in doubt. Los Angeles was far more aggressive, blocking 20 shots and turning the Madison Square Garden crowd of 18,006 into a non-factor.

"We had a lot of guys block shots, and the penalty-kill was the difference for us," Quick said.

In a last-ditch effort to generate some offense, New York coach Alain Vigneault pulled Lundqvist with just under four minutes to play, but the Rangers were unable to get a shot past Quick.

Richards' third goal of the playoffs provided the Kings with a commanding 3-0 lead after two periods. The Kings forward was attempting a pass back to center Trevor Lewis, who was skating down the right side on the two-on-one, but the puck slid off New York defenseman Ryan McDonagh and into the net at 17:14 of the middle period.

Los Angeles went ahead 2-0 on a power-play goal by Muzzin at 4:17 of the second period. Rangers defenseman Marc Staal was in the penalty box after he was called for high-sticking Kings defenseman Alec Martinez in the offensive zone. Muzzin accepted a pass from center Anze Kopitar at the right end of the blue line, and he sent a shot 60 feet through traffic and past Lundqvist for his sixth goal of the playoffs.

New York fired 17 shots at Quick in the second period but went 0-for-3 with a man advantage. Its best scoring chance occurred in a flurry of three shots in the span of four seconds on the power play midway through the period. However, Quick kicked out shots by forwards Richards, Benoit Pouliot and Derick Brassard, all within 20 feet.

Just before the first intermission, the Kings took their first lead in regulation since the third period of Game 6 against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference finals. Carter received a pass from right winger Justin Williams in the high slot and fired a wrist shot over Lundqvist's glove hand with 0.7 seconds left in the first period.

Carter recorded at least one point for the ninth time in his past 11 playoff games.

The Rangers managed only four shots on goal and none in the only power-play opportunity of the tightly checked first period.

NOTES: Los Angeles G Jonathan Quick is 15-9 in the playoffs with a 2.69 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. ... Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup final required overtime for an unprecedented third straight year. ... The Kings are the first team in NHL history to win three consecutive playoff games they trailed by two goals. ... Kings D Drew Doughty, who averaged 29:49 of ice time over the previous three games, saw 26:03 of action Monday. He led all players with a career-high 41:41 during Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals. ... Kings C Tyler Toffoli and LW Tanner Pearson rank No. 1 and No. 2 among rookie scoring leaders in the playoffs with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Rangers LW Chris Kreider is third with 11 points. ... Home teams that won the first two games of the finals won the series on 32 of 35 occasions. The teams that lost the first two on the road but still claimed the Cup were the 1971 Montreal Canadiens, the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins and the 2011 Boston Bruins.

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