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NEW YORK – The last thing the Rangers needed to do was help the Kings score.
New York did so on three goals, all of them either deflecting off a Rangers player or getting past goaltender Henrik Lundqvist because he was screened. That was more than enough for Los Angeles to win Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals 3-0 Monday night, moving the Kings within a victory of their second NHL championship in three years.
The worst of all for the Rangers might have been the Kings' first goal, by Jeff Carter — and not only because defenseman Dan Girardi's slide on the ice interfered with Lundqvist's sight line. That goal came with less than a second remaining in the opening session, a crushing way to end New York's first home period of the finals. It seemed to deflate the previously raucous crowd at Madison Square Garden.
And, unlike in the first two overtime games in Los Angeles, that goal showed the Kings could jump ahead; the Rangers never trailed in either game until the Kings won both on overtime goals by Justin Williams and Dustin Brown.
"We got sort of a bad rush read on the first, we deflect it into our net," Rangers coach Alain Vigneualt said of Carter's goal with 0.7 seconds remaining in the opening period. "Same thing happened in the second goal (by defenseman Jake Muzzin).
"On the third goal we played a two-on-one right, take the pass, goes right back on their stick."
And Mike Richards buried it — burying the Rangers' chances in the third game, and most likely for their first Stanley Cup in 20 years.