NY Rangers beat LA Kings 3-1 with Quick’s mistake
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Henrik Lundqvist knows how Jonathan Quick felt after giving up an embarrassing, inexcusable goal.
Lundqvist and the New York Rangers didn’t let empathy get in the way of their excitement about their first victory of the season.
Brad Richards scored two goals, Ryan McDonagh got credit for a short-handed goal on a comical mistake by Quick, and the Rangers beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 on Monday night for their first win under new coach Alain Vigneault.
Quick stopped 25 shots in the Kings’ home opener, but the star goalie also misplayed McDonagh’s harmless cleared puck from deep in the New York end early in the third period, knocking it into his own net.
“I feel for him,” said Lundqvist, who made 28 saves. “It happens sometimes, but we’ll take it.”
Quick’s first home game since his 10-year, $58 million contract extension kicked in featured maybe the most regrettable goal allowed by the Kings’ Conn Smythe Trophy winner.
After Brian Boyle won a faceoff to Lundqvist’s left, McDonagh quickly cleared the puck off the far boards. Quick skated to his left to play it, but his stick slipped out of his hands as he knelt, and he reached for it while the puck glanced off his right pad and ricocheted straight into his net.
“I didn’t watch it go down (the ice),” McDonagh said. “I didn’t know what happened at all. Still trying to get the full story. I was just kind of looking over at our bench, and guys started throwing their sticks up in the air.”
The Staples Center crowd howled in disbelief, and Quick hung his head. He didn’t stay down for long — and when the Los Angeles crowd gave him a Bronx cheer when he stopped the Rangers’ next dump-in shot, he waved his glove at the fans.
“You play 60 minutes and you try to stop the puck for your teammates, that’s the thought process,” Quick said. “Everyone gives up that goal, and it’s part of the game.”
Rick Nash assisted on both of Richards’ goals for the Rangers (1-1), who are opening the season on a nine-game road trip. New York had three days off after losing the season opener at Phoenix.
With Madison Square Garden getting extensive renovations, New York is on the road until Oct. 28, facing all three California clubs this week. Vigneault is using the time away as a test for the Rangers.
“I really liked the way we responded after they scored,” Vigneault said. “We came right back at them and we kept pushing the pace. Obviously, we got a little bit lucky on the third goal, but part of this game. You need a little bit of luck, and we got it there.”
Jake Muzzin scored for the Kings (1-2), who have scored just six goals this season after splitting the first two games in the upper Midwest.
The sellout crowd didn’t see much excitement from the Kings, who won their first Stanley Cup title and six playoff rounds in the past two seasons. Los Angeles reached the Western Conference finals last June before losing to eventual champion Chicago, raising expectations for this winter in a hockey town not familiar with consistent success.
“Our five-on-five play needs to improve,” right wing Justin Williams said. “It’s non-existent right now. Certainly we need to get dirty. We need to become whole, put our work before skill, and get dirty and greasy, bang some in and rebound.”
Richards flirted with the Kings as a free agent two seasons ago before signing a nine-year, $58.5 million deal with the Rangers, but he stumbled to his worst pro season last season with just 11 goals in 46 games. New York considered buying out Richards’ contract, but brought him back this fall.
Richards scored the game’s first goal in the first period after a scramble created by a turnover from Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.
The Kings struggled to keep consistent possession, and Richards scored easily on a break with Nash after another turnover by Muzzin midway through the second period.
Just 1:25 later, Los Angeles answered when Mike Richards got the puck to Muzzin in the slot for a nasty wrist shot.
New York’s Taylor Pyatt missed most of the first period after taking a puck to the face. Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, making his season debut after shoulder surgery, then went to the dressing room early in the second period after cutting his mouth in an open-ice collision with Anze Kopitar.
Callahan skated up to check Kopitar with a shoulder to the Slovenian center’s chest, but dropped flat to the ice when Kopitar’s stick caught him in the face after the hit. He eventually returned to the lineup.
NOTES: The Rangers’ road trip is their longest to open a season, breaking the record set two years ago. It matches the longest road trip in franchise history back in the 1955-56 season. ... The Rangers made their first visit to Staples Center since Feb. 2, 2010. ... Muzzin scored seven goals last season, second among rookie defensemen.