After a devastating loss in 2OT on Saturday night in Los Angeles, the Rangers failed to take care of business at home, dropping Game 3 by a final score of 3-0, to push themselves to the precipice of elimination, as the now trail the Best of 7 series 3-0.
With only 0.7 of a second left in the first period, the Kings drew first blood, as Jeff Carter netted his 10th goal of the playoffs. The goal was assisted by Justin Williams, who extended his point’s streak to 5 games, over the course of which he netted 2 goals and registered 5 helpers.
Jake Muzzin scored four minutes into the 2nd period on a PP, to give LA the vaunted 2-0 lead. The Rangers saw 2-0 leads erased in both Game 1 & 2. Madison Square Garden, which opened the game as a raucous environment, was stunned silent. As it turned out, the Ranger’s fate was already sealed. Mike Richards would score an insurance goal on a snapshot thirteen minutes later to put the proverbial nail in the Rangers coffin.
Jonathan Quick, doing his best Patrick Roy impersonation, turned aside all 32 shots he faced in the shutout. His counterpart, Henrik Lundqvist, who has been nothing short of spectacular in this year’s playoffs, struggled, allowing 3 goals on just 15 Kings’ shots.
The Kings will look to complete the sweep and raise Lord Stanley’s Cup on Wednesday night at 8pm back in MSG.
Anyone who has watched this series, and seen how competitive this matchup has been, knows that this series is far from over. The 3-0 series deficit for the Rangers is not indicative of the competitiveness of the games. Games 1 & 2 came right down to the wire, and this series could just as easily have been 2-1 in favor of the Rangers.
The Kings know that no lead is safe. They found themselves in a similar position just a few weeks ago, falling down 3-0 to San Jose, only to come back and win 4 straight games to advance. Kings’ Coach Darryl Sutter acknowledged that his teams’ experience in the Sharks’ series was keeping them humble, saying “We got thrown under the bus by everybody on Earth seven weeks ago.”
This series has been eerily similar to the Kings Stanley Cup Final series against the New Jersey Devils just two years ago. In that series, the Kings won Games 1 & 2 in OT, albeit on the road, before shutting their opponent out in Game 3 (the Kings won 4-0 in 2012, however).
Something still tells me that, against all odds, this series might still have some life left. We’ll just have to wait and see how much life the Rangers have left on Wednesday night.