The LA Kings look to win their second Stanley Cup in three years. Picture: Jeff Gross/Getty Images
New York Rangers v Los Angeles Kings
Thursday June 12 – 10:05 AM (AEST)
The Los Angeles Kings are starting to find their rhythm. While they headed into Tuesday's clash against the New York Rangers leading the series 2-0, they didn’t look that convincing. Off the back of two overtime-wins, the Kings went into the match with some injury concerns. But a dominating 3-0 win in Game 3 has definitely put the Kings on the front foot.
Having to win in overtime in Games 1 and 2, the Kings knew they had a little more than just skill on their side - they had a little bit of luck as well. Justin Williams was the hero in Game 1, with Dustin Brown becoming the lucky saviour in Game 2. But it was pure skill on Tuesday. The Kings finished the first quarter 1-0 up, off the back of a signature Jeff Carter last-second wrist shot. That’s where it all started. The Kings dominated possession right up until the final buzzer. Goals to Jake Muzzin and Mike Richards put the lead well out of the Rangers reach. The New Yorkers are now within one victory of reclaiming the Stanley Cup.
The Rangers would be lost for words. Very unlucky to lose in Game 2 when Browns deflection went in, the Rangers headed into Tuesday's match hell-bent on levelling the series. They expected to come up against a Kings side that would be exhausted, both mentally and physically, from such a massive start to the series. But what they got was a shock to every player out there. They faced a team which dominated every aspect of the game. They controlled the puck, they controlled the tempo and they dominated physically. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist had a very off night. A man who prides himself on consistency was anything but. All three goals went straight through his legs and should not have been that troubling for the former Vezina Trophy winner. Even after three power plays, the Rangers failed to put any numbers on the board. Coach Alain Vigneault needs to find out what went wrong, and fix it quick.
The Kings look set on regaining the Stanley Cup. Off the back of Tuesday's performance they would be heading into Thursday’s encounter full of confidence. But ice hockey’s a funny game. The Rangers have the home-court advantage, and their survival instinct has to kick in or it's all over.
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