Not so fast ... err, not so Quick.
Los Angeles pushed the Rangers to the brink of elimination Monday night behind the strong play of Jonathan Quick, who put in one of his stronger performances of the entire postseason, stymying the Rangers en route to a 32 win, and a 3-0 series lead.
Mats Zuccarello nearly gave the Rangers an early lead in the first, as his bid at an empty net hit the post and then the stick of a diving Quick, but managed to stay out.
The Rangers got the first power play of the game later in that period, but were unable to muster any quality scoring chances. As the man-advantage expired, it looked like the first 20 minutes would end scoreless with only 18 seconds remaining. But Justin Williams corralled the puck at center ice, before drawing to Rangers on him as he hit the blue line. He dropped the puck to an open Jeff Carter, who beat Henrik Lundqvist from below the dots with only 0.7 seconds remaining in the clock for a 1-0 Kings lead.
The Blueshirts would go down shorthanded twice in the fist 3:18 of the middle frame, and the Kings would capitalize on the latter opportunity. A Jake Muzzin point shot deflected off Martin St. Louis in the slot, and past Lundqvist to give the Kings a 2-0 edge.
The Rangers would push back in the second, even in one stretch taking 13 consecutive shots, but Quick had his best game of the series. He took away a number of would-be goals, including stopping Derick Brassard with his stick from in tight with a lot of net to shoot at.
But after the Rangers big push, the Kings regained their footing. And while two-goal leads have seemed surmountable in this series, Los Angeles would add a late tally in the second to push it to a 3-0 game. A turnover at New York's offensive blue line sprung the Kings on a 2-on-1. While Mike Richards tried to play a pass cross-ice, it deflected off Ryan McDonagh, and back onto the stick off the former Flyer who flipped it past Lundqvist with only 2:46 to play in the second.
The third period went by without much consequence. The big push the Rangers exhausted in the second somewhat carried over to the tune of 11 shots, but again, Quick was unbeatable. New York finished the contest 0-6 on the power play, and are now one loss away from getting swept.
Game 4 will be Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, beginning at 8 p.m.