Every night during the playoffs, we will wrap up all the exciting action and tell you what you need to know about the 2013-14 Stanley Cup playoffs. Welcome to What You Need To Know.
Kings win 3-0 | LA leads series 3-0 | Game 4 Wed.
LA Kings: For the first time in this series we got to witness the Kings playing with a lead and unlike their foes, they showed how to hold it. A large part of that was due to the man in net as the Rangers dominated the shot count in the latter half but the Kings were able to counterpunch enough and picked up a few markers to build their lead. Now they are just one win away from a second Stanley Cup in three years and will have four chances to get it if they need. A lot was made about the Kings' potential fatigue but in this game but they got off to pretty much equal footing and never lost their edge. There is no denying the Kings got just about every bounce imaginable to go their way in Game 3 but there's no taking away from the effort of not only Jonathan Quick but the penalty kill and defense as a whole that kept the Rangers off the scoreboard. A perfect example to illustrate that point was how the Rangers generated very little in the final 4:21 of the game when they had Henrik Lundqvist on the bench for the extra attacker.
New York Rangers: The fat lady is getting warmed up in the Big Apple. Just the same as the first two games of this series in LA, the Rangers did a lot of things right but lady luck was just nowhere near them in this game. They were slightly better than LA in the first period but didn't really wake up and get going until the Kings were up 2-0, way too late at that point. The big killer was the power play that did nothing for the Rangers in this game. Only once did they even look threatening on the man advantage against the Kings. But the even-strength play wasn't that much better. The forecheck that was so good for them in Game 2 was close to non-existent in Game 3. They did get their chances but couldn't make the plays when they needed to. Having said that, they did outshoot the Kings 32-15 in the game -- take that with a grain of salt due to the effects of the score and the Rangers being the team that was pushing -- and just ran into classic Quick tonight.
Play of the Game: Given the amount of two-goal leads we've seen disappear this postseason, it felt like Mike Richards' goal, the third of the night for LA, was the real insurance marker. It came on a 2-on-1 rush for the Kings with Jarret Stoll. Richards looked to try and pass the puck but it bounced right off Ryan McDonagh's skate and back to the stick of Richards, who had Lundqvist beat on the initial pass attempt. Fellow Eye on Hockey writer Chris Peters has a sneaking suspicion Richards might have done that on purpose in some fashion. If so, that's play of the postseason level. Either way, that's incredible reaction and hand speed. Other options: About seven or eight different Quick saves.
Player of the Game: It's been a long time since we could say this, it seems, but Jonathan Quick was the difference for the Kings in this game. Partially a product of the Kings taking a lead for once, the Rangers were peppering Quick with shots and he was there for every single one of them, and a few of them were of the simply spectacular variety. Quick was not having a good series or even postseason coming into Game 3 but he was tremendous on Monday with 32 saves for the shutout.
Turning Point: After a well-played first period from the Rangers, it looked like they were at least going to the break in a scoreless tie. That was until Jeff Carter scored with literally less than a second to go in the period. The Garden was completely deflated.
GIF of the Game: Can any GIF more accurately depict the feeling for Dan Girardi after three games this this? The Kings nearly scored to make it 4-0 and Girardi helped keep the puck out but the face plant to the ice was just symbolic (via @MyRegularFace).