In the spring of 1979, the New York Rangers met the Los Angeles KIngs in a best of three preliminary round series. During this era, only 12 of the 17 teams made the playoffs and the league seeded them based on record and no official conference format. The four division winners Boston, Montreal, Chicago, and New York Islanders received byes into the second round. The Rangers had finished the regular season fifth overall while the KIngs finished tenth in the standings.
April 10, 1979 Madison Square Garden New York, New York New York Rangers 7 Los Angeles Kings 1: In the series opener the Rangers scored early and often against KIngs goalie Mario Lessard bombing him with seven goals on 30 shots. While Rangers goaltender John Davidson was able to hold the Kings to one goal on 32 shots in the rout.
Led by two goals by Dave Maloney the offense added goals by Lucien Deblois, Mike McEwan, Steve Vickers, Ron Greschner, and Walt Tkaczuk for the goal scoring. The KIngs could only manage a tally in the first period from Charlie SImmer assisted by Marcel DIonne. Assisting on the Rangers goals including McEwan and Tkaczuk with two assists and followed by single assists Marios Marois, Greschner, Pierre Plante, Don Maloney, Pat Hickey, and Ron Duguay. The four goal second period by the Rangers is what finished off the Kings in the opener.
April 12, 1979 Los Angeles Forum Los Angeles, CA New York Ranger 2 Los Angeles KIngs 1 ot: In game two of this series the Kings returned home facing the prospect of either winning to force game three or going home for the summer. In a spirited battle that wasn’t decided till Phil Esposito put one through the Kings goaltender Mario Lessard in the overtime. Esposito also had an earlier tying goal in the thrid period as well. Syl Apps of the Kings had the lone goal in the game for the Kings in the second period giving them a brief 1-0 lead. Both teams had trouble scoring on the night thanks to the excellent play in the pipes by John Davidson and Lessard who played much better on the night.
After this series the Rangers had a much easier travel schedule en route to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1979. They would go on in the next round upset Philadelphia and there neighbors from Long Island the heavily favored New York Islanders to reach the finals. However after winning game one of the finals they would drop the next four games to the champion Montreal Canadiens to lose the cup in five games.
04/11/1979 Rangers Beat KIngs in Playoff Opener, 7-1 by Parton Keese New York Times
04/13/1979 Rangers Top Kings to Sweep Playoff by Parton Keese New York Times