NEW YORK — One. More. Win.
That’s all the Kings need to hoist the Stanley Cup in Madison Square Garden.
The Kings took the lead in regulation for the first time this series and hugged it and loved it and never let it go. In the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final, the Kings never led in regulation before winning in overtime and double overtime.
This time, they got the lead in the first period and ran with it. They were confident, poised and dominant.
Whether they’re down by two goals or up by two goals, the Kings just know how to win.
Goaltender Jonathan Quick made 32 saves against the Rangers, stopping everything this side of Times Square, and the Kings killed six penalties and scored timely goals Monday.
Like the kind with 0.8 seconds left.
Jeff Carter gave the Kings the lead when his wrister beat Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist glove side with eight-tenths of a second left in the first period. That was all the Kings would really need with Quick’s best postseason outing yet.
The Kings blasted the Rangers 3-0 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.
“It doesn’t matter how we do it, we just need one more win,” said winger Tyler Toffoli.
They’d prefer to do it while they’re in a New York state of mind. They had that ad in Times Square, a shutout win to boot and a chance to celebrate on Broadway.
The Kings have a 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 series and could win the organization’s second championship in history with a win here in Game 4 on Wednesday. Or a win in Game 5 on Friday. They have four more games to win one more.
“I think Cart’s goal was the big one, getting that at the tail end of the first,” Mike Richards said. “We’re a team that plays a lot different when we have the lead. We play with confidence. We don’t sit back. I think we did a good job of that.”
Richards grabbed the last water bottle from the interview table, then thought he better put it back. An NHL official told him he could have it and Richards responded: “Souvenir?”
He’ll definitely want to save something from this series.
The Rangers were about to skate off the Madison Square Garden ice in a scoreless tie in the first period. And all of a sudden, Carter scored.
“Their team obviously was going to go in their room thinking 0-0 and next thing they know it’s 1-0,” Drew Doughty said. “That’s a downer for them.”
The game was a slap in the face for New York fans, many of whom paid $2,500 or more for a ticket. The Rangers hadn’t played in the Stanley Cup Final since winning in 1994, and the Rangers got shut out.
It was Quick’s second shutout of the season.
He had the hood of his sweatshirt covering his head and took it off before speaking to reporters.
Quick played his first professional game at Madison Square Garden on Monday and now with one more win he could become a Stanley Cup champion here, a 90-minute drive from where he grew up.
The only player to get to Quick was teammate Alec Martinez, who accidentally tumbled over him, knocking Quick’s helmet off his head. Quick was in such a grove he actually smiled.
Quick told a joke in the postgame presser, too. All those reporters who thought this was his first game. He played Pee Wee hockey here when he was 12.
You’ve really got to feel bad for the Rangers now.
A few days earlier, the Kings bought a video ad in Times Square with a screaming Will Ferrell shouting for the Kings to get under the Rangers’ skin.
The Kings were shouting on the ice, too. In the form of every save and goal.
Jake Muzzin scored on the power play and Richards added another goal in the second period to give the Kings a 3-0 lead heading into the third period. And all the while, Quick did his thing.
He made fantastic stops on Mats Zuccarello and Chris Brassard.
And Madison Square Garden was quiet.
If not for the arena music that was playing in the second intermission, I’m confident you could’ve heard the Zambonis.
It was a disheartening, disastrous performance by the Rangers, who had 32 shots and held the Kings to just 14. The Rangers never trailed in the first two games but left those with losses, and they were never in this game.
The Rangers’ slogan is “United in Blue.”
The Kings gave a different meaning to blue.
Leading, trailing, these Kings know how to win.
And one more win, and the Kings will own another Stanley Cup championship.
©2014 the Daily News (Los Angeles)
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