Monday night in New York, Jonathan Quick and the L.A. Kings shutout the Rangers in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals. For Quick, it was his 2nd career playoff shutout, and for New York it was the twenty-second time they had been shutout in a playoff game since 1939. The Kings now lead the series 3-0, the first time a team has had a 3-0 lead in the finals since 1998, when the Detroit Red Wings swept the Washington Capitals. That was the most recent sweep in the Finals. The first sweep in the Stanley Cup Finals (since 1939 when the league introduced the 7 game format) was in 1941 when the Boston Bruins beat the Detroit Red Wings 4 games to none. Twenty teams have been swept in the Stanley Cup Finals, and the New York Rangers hope that they will not become the twenty-first.
Going into Monday night’s game, the Rangers’ confidence was rattled after they had lost Games 1 and 2, despite the fact that they had led by 2 goals in both of those games. Being down 3 games to none has to have even more affect on their damaged egos, as the odds are completely against them to come back and win the Stanley Cup. Only 4 teams in NHL history have come back from a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs, but 1 of those teams happens to be the Kings, who pulled of the ‘reverse sweep’ against the San Jose Sharks in Round 1 this year. Mike Richards is the only player in NHL history to be a part of 2 teams who came back after going down 3-0 in a series, as he did it the year with L.A., but also with the Philadelphia Flyers against the Boston Bruins in 2010.
A sweep in the Stanley Cup Finals would be huge. But can the Kings pull it off? I don’t think so. When teams find themselves with their backs to the wall, facing elimination, the players are typically able to draw something up within themselves, are able to come back the next game and play their hardest, leaving nothing on the ice. The Rangers did it earlier this postseason when they came back from a 3-1 deficit in Round 2 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. I predict that the Rangers will come out flying for Game 4, and that they will win it, and maybe they can even win Game 5. But in the end, the Kings will hoist the Cup over their heads for the 2nd time in 2 years. Game 4 in New York will be at 8 PM EST and can be viewed on CBC, RDS, and NBCSN.