The Los Angeles Kings are on the brink of producing a huge playoff upset after they beat the top-seed Vancouver Canucks 1-0 on Sunday to take a 3-0 lead in the first-round series.
Jonathan Quick made 41 saves in a shutout and Dustin Brown notched his fourth goal of the playoffs as Los Angeles put the defending Western Conference champions on the ropes.
The eighth-seed Kings can sweep the series in tomorrow’s Game Four.
“We’re feeling pretty good right now, but it’s not over,” Kings center Anze Kopitar told reporters after tallying an assist. “We want to finish it as soon as we can, but it’s not over until you get that fourth win.”
The Kings have not enjoyed a postseason series win in 11 years, and few people would have thought they could overcome Vancouver.
However, Los Angeles have found form at the right time, while the Canucks struggle to score goals in the absence of leader Daniel Sedin, who is out with a concussion.
In Florida, the Panthers earned their first playoff victory since 1997 with a 4-2 win over New Jersey that evened their first-round series at 1-1.
Having dropped the series opener at home, the Panthers responded by taking a 3-0 lead behind a pair of goals from Stephen Weiss.
“They got on us last game and that was enough for them. We got the same jump on them tonight and it turned out to be enough for us,” Weiss said.
New Jersey fought back by scoring twice in third and the Devils had a shot blocked in the final seconds, before Florida netted an empty-netter as time expired.
In earlier action, the Philadelphia Flyers grabbed a 3-0 first-round series lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins with an impressive, but ill-disciplined 8-4 home victory.
Their bruising Game Three victory, which featured 133 penalty minutes and three ejections, put the Flyers in position to sweep a Penguins team pegged by many as Stanley Cup favorites. Game Four of the best-of-seven series is tomorrow in Philadelphia.
In Detroit, Shea Weber continued to irritate Red Wings’ fans by playing a major role in helping Nashville grab a 3-2 road victory to take control of the first-round series.
Weber, fined US$2,500 for hits he put on Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg in Game One, scored a first-period goal to help the Predators skate to a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven affair.