Jeff Carter

Get your game notes: Kings at Rangers

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the New York Rangers hosting the Los Angeles Kings at 8 p.m. ET in the fourth game of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Tonight marks the 92nd game of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs, tied for the most in NHL history in one playoff year (1991). With a win, the Kings would tie the record for most games needed to capture the Cup (25, held by the 2006 Hurricanes and 2011 Bruins). The Rangers will set a new franchise record by playing their 24th game of the postseason. (They played 23 games during their Cup-winning playoff run in 1994.)

• Since the Stanley Cup Final went to seven games in 1939, the team that took a 3-0 series lead won 25 of 26 series (96%). Twenty of those 26 series (77%) ended in sweeps (mostly recently in 1998, Detroit vs. Washington), three ended in five games, one in six games (2012, Los Angeles vs. New Jersey) and two in seven games. The only team to rebound from an 0-3 series deficit in a Cup Final was the 1942 Maple Leafs, who outscored Detroit 19-7 in Games 4-7 to win the Cup.

• The Kings are up 3-0 in a best-of-seven playoff series for the fifth time in franchise history. During their run to the Stanley Cup in 2012, they won the first three games in all four series. However, they won Game 4 only once, in the second round vs. St. Louis. The Rangers are down 3-0 for the 12th time all-time, and first time in the Stanley Cup Final. They are 5-6 in subsequent Game 4s (all at home) when trailing 3-0 in a playoff series. Only once, in the 1939 NHL Semifinals vs. Boston (which they lost in seven games), were they able to extend one of those series beyond five games.

• In Game 3, Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick made 32 saves in his first-career NHL start at Madison Square Garden and became only the second goalie ever to shut out the Rangers at MSG in a Stanley Cup Final game (Gerry Cheevers, BOS, 1972, Game 6 – 33 saves). Quick carries a 115:36 shutout streak into Game 4, the third-longest of his postseason career. Elias Sports Bureau

Jonathan Quick’s longest shutout streaks, postseason career
138:39 – 2012 Stanley Cup Final, Game 2-4 vs. New Jersey (June 2-6)
125:08 – 2013 1st round, Game 6 vs. St. Louis … 2nd round, Game 1-2 vs. San Jose (May 10-16)
115:36 – 2014 Stanley Cup Final, Game 2-3 vs. N.Y. Rangers (June 7-present)

• After going 0/6 on the power play in Game 3, the Rangers have failed on 36 straight power-play chances at Madison Square Garden since Martin St. Louis scored a PPG in Game 2 of the first-round series vs. Philadelphia. The Rangers’ nine-game home PPG drought is a Stanley Cup playoff record for any team at home in a single postseason. The previous NHL high was seven games by the 1939 Bruins. Elias Sports Bureau

• In Game 3, the Kings scored three or more goals for the ninth consecutive game, and 19th time in 24 games this postseason. That is tied with four Stanley Cup champions (1989 Flames, 1990 Oilers, 1991 Penguins, 1996 Avalanche) for the most games with 3+ goals in a playoff year. (With three or more goals in Game 4, L.A. will set a new NHL record.) They have 84 goals this postseason (3.50 goals/game). The last Stanley Cup champion to score that many goals in a playoff year was the 1991 Penguins (95 goals). To compare, the Kings scored 198 goals (2.42 goals/game) in the regular season, the 26th most in the NHL.

• The NHL’s leading scorers this postseason, Kings forwards Anze Kopitar (5-21—26), Jeff Carter (10-14—24) and Justin Williams (8-16—24) are among a group of nine players who have suited up in all 62 of the Kings’ games in the last three postseasons (2012-2014), with tonight marking game 63, tying an NHL record for most playoff games over a three-year span. (The others are Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty, Dwight King, Trevor Lewis, Quick and Slava Voynov.) Only two teams in NHL history have played 63 playoff games in a three-year span: Dallas (1998-2000 – four players played in all 63 games) and Detroit (2007-09 – four players played in all). Elias Sports Bureau

Carter not thinking about possible Stanley Cup and Olympic gold year

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Jeff Carter stands on the verge of a very impressive championship season. Actually, so, too, does his teammate Drew Doughty.

Carter and Doughty have already won Olympic gold with Team Canada in Sochi. They’re both one victory away from a Stanley Cup with the L.A. Kings. They can achieve this feat Wednesday in Game 4 of the final series against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

But Carter, well, he says he’s not even thinking about that. The message from the Kings on Tuesday was that fourth win is the hardest to get.

“It’s not something I thought about, to be honest. We still got a long ways to go here,” Carter told reporters.

“We’re not looking ahead, we’re looking to tomorrow night. We know we’re going to have to be on top of our game, have to be ready.”

Carter has been a force in these playoffs, right now sitting second in NHL post-season overall scoring with 10 goals and 24 points. Doughty, the smooth-skating defenseman, has also been impressive, contributing offensively with 17 points. Wouldn’t you know it, they’re both in the conversation for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Carter might not be looking too far ahead, focusing on the game and the work left to be done. Doughty can’t wait for the moment to arrive.

“I can’t wait to get out there,” said Doughty. “It kind of sucks that the game is at 8:00, waiting around during the day. You just want to get out there. You don’t want to get overanxious at the same time.

“But it’s fun to play in these types of games. When the pressure’s at a high, you just want to go out there, play your best as a team, win games. Yeah, I just can’t wait to get out there, get warmups over there, drop the first puck.”

Team chemistry showing as Kings close in on championship

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The L.A. Kings have shown in these Stanley Cup playoffs to be a remarkable team.

They beat the San Jose Sharks in historic fashion, came back to eliminate the Anaheim Ducks, knocked off the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime of the seventh game in the Western Conference Final and are now one win away from their second Stanley Cup championship in three years.

They have four players – Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Justin Williams and Marian Gaborik – at the top of NHL post-season scoring and a goaltender in Jonathan Quick who isn’t necessarily lighting it up when it comes to statistics like save percentage and goals-against average, but has made the necessary saves at key times.

Mike Richards, with a contract of 12 years at $69 million and with the speculation of a buyout looming over his head, has still been able to chip in here and there offensively, gaining the praise of head coach Darryl Sutter just for his ability to contribute to a winning team.

Tanner Pearson has emerged, as have Jake Muzzin and Tyler Toffoli during this post-season.

The Kings are the epitome of a team. Jarret Stoll lauded the club’s chemistry, which could very much be celebrated when the Kings and New York Rangers meet in Game 4 on Wednesday, with L.A. needing only a win to clinch the silver chalice.

“We’ve got good guys in the room,” Stoll told LA Kings Insider.

“We’ve got good people. We’ve got guys that want to play the right way, aren’t selfish. There’s not one selfish guy in that room. We understand if there is a selfish guy in that room, we’ll either kick him out or he won’t play.

“That’s honestly the way it will work. Yeah, we all care about each other. There’s no cliques on our team. There’s no some guys going off here, some guys going off there.”

PHT Extra: Who should win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

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As you’ll see, we shot today’s PHT Extra perched high atop one of New York City’s many skyscrapers. It was surprisingly warm up there, and we weren’t scared at all.

Two questions for discussion:

1. Do the Rangers have any shot of coming back in this thing?

2. When/if the Kings win, who should receive the Conn Smythe Trophy — Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Jeff Carter, or Marian Gaborik?

PHT Morning Skate: Reflecting on Bylsma’s fall

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Today’s an off day after the Los Angeles Kings took a 3-0 series lead last night, so instead we’re highlighting some of the headlines from around the hockey world:

A look back at Dan Bylsma, what he did for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and his fall since the start with the 2014 Winter Olympics. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Jonathan Quick’s shutout last night was the first one at Madison Square Garden in the Stanley Cup Final since 1972. The Kings also became the first team since 2004 to win a Stanley Cup Final game despite recording 15 or fewer shots. (NHL.com)

Mark Messier talks about his involvement in a nine-rink facility being built in the Bronx. (Puck Daddy)

Jeff Carter became the fourth player in Los Angeles Kings history to score at least 10 goals in a single postseason run. Of course, Marian Gaborik is also on that list. (LA Kings Insider)

St. John’s goalie Michael Hutchinson kicked out 49 shots to even the AHL Calder Cup Final against the Texas Stars at 1-1. (AHL.com)

One level below that, the Alaska Aces have swept the Cincinnati Cyclones to win the 2014 ECHL Kelly Cup championship. (ECHL.com)