The Los Angeles Kings are pulling away from the New York Rangers in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, and there are a few things we've learned so far through the first three games.
After a strong 3-0 win in Game 3, the Kings are now up 3-0 in the series, as they could potentially win the Stanley Cup on Wednesday. The first two games went to overtime, but the Rangers just didn't look like they could keep up Monday, as they were unable to score a single goal.
With the series potentially almost over, let's take a look at a couple of the biggest takeaways from the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final.
Drew Doughty Doesn't Have To Score Points To Make Huge Impact
Before this series, Drew Doughty had 16 points on four goals and 12 assists. He hasn't done a lot of scoring in the series against the Rangers, but that doesn't mean he hasn't been a huge asset for his team.
Through the first three games, Doughty has just one point on a goal scored in Game 1 with a plus-minus of minus-one in the series. However, that one goal was pretty impressive, as Doughty made a terrific move to tie Game 1. You can see a video of the goal below.
Doughty's help on defense was a big reason Jonathan Quick was able to shut the Rangers down on 32 shot attempts in Game 3.
The best example of Doughty's impact on the Kings came Monday night. In the second period, Rick Nash had an ideal opportunity to get the Rangers on the board right by the goal. Doughty recognized the opportunity and intentionally tripped Nash and was called for a hooking penalty. The move worked out, as the Rangers were unable to score on the ensuing power play.
Bruce Arthur from the Toronto Star praised Doughty for the play.
As a potential Conn Smythe Trophy candidate, Doughty doesn't have the numbers that some of his teammates have, but plays like that are a big reason he's still in the conversation.
Rangers Cannot Capitalize on Power-Play Opportunities
Despite so many opportunities on the power play this series, the Rangers simply haven't been able to make the most of their opportunities, while the Kings penalty kill has been, well, killing it.
During the regular season, the Rangers ranked 15th with an 18.2 power-play percentage, while the Kings ranked 11th with an 83.1 penalty-kill percentage. Those numbers have been much more dramatic in this series, as the Rangers have scored just once on 14 power plays or just over seven percent.
Earlier in the playoffs, the Rangers were struggling on power plays as well, ending an 0-for-36 drought against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
According to Jesse Spector of the Sporting News, Rangers fans don't seem to like it now when their team has power-play chances.
The fact that the power play hasn't been able to score has been frustrating for the entire team, including Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who has tried his best but hasn't had much help from his team's scorers.
“I’m just extremely disappointed that we’re in this hole,” Lundqvist told Rich Chere of NJ.com. “We have been talking about it after every game that we played really well, but in the end it’s about finding a way to win. It’s not about playing great, it’s about winning."
Even arguably the best goaltender in the NHL cannot help the Rangers if they cannot make the most of their scoring chances, and that could end up being the reason they come up just short of the Stanley Cup.