Kings rout Devils, take 3-0 lead
Jonathan Quick made 22 saves in his third shutout of the postseason, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams each had a goal and an assist, and the Kings rolled to the brink of the franchise’s first title, beating the New Jersey Devils 4-0 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals on Monday night to take a 3-0 series lead.
Alec Martinez scored the opening goal, and Jeff Carter and Williams added late power-play goals as the Western Conference champion Kings improved to 15-2 in the postseason. The eighth-seeded Kings jumped to a 3-0 lead in their fourth straight series—a first in NHL history.
Game 4 is Wednesday night at Los Angeles.
“We’re almost where we’re trying to go, but we haven’t won anything yet,” captain Dustin Brown said. “We know what we have a chance to do, though. Having an opportunity to win a championship here could get rid of a lot of frustration for a lot of people.”
Martin Brodeur stopped 17 shots, but the Devils couldn’t beat the impenetrable Quick or his penalty-killers, who turned aside six power plays. New Jersey must accomplish just the fourth comeback from an 0-3 series deficit in NHL playoff history to win its fourth title.
After opening their first Stanley Cup finals appearance in 19 years with two overtime victories in New Jersey, the Kings survived another solid performance early in Game 3 by the Devils, who had ample opportunity to take an early lead.
New Jersey has been pretty good in the finals, but nothing has been able to slow down these Kings, who seem destined to become the first No. 8 seed to win the Stanley Cup.
“Before the series, we felt like this could happen, but we didn’t think it would,” said defenseman Drew Doughty, who has scored in every game of the finals. “This was definitely our best game of the series. I thought they took it to us in the first period, but we got a lot better.”
The Devils had never lost three straight Stanley Cup finals games in the franchise’s five appearances. New Jersey hadn’t lost three straight games this season since late February.
The Kings had to survive their early nerves from playing in front of their title-starved fans, and they barely hung on at times against the Devils’ dynamic forechecking in the first two periods. They got another peerless performance from Quick, who has allowed just 24 goals in 17 playoff games—just two in the finals.
“These guys are working really hard,” the 40-year-old Brodeur said of his teammates. “We’ve played some really good hockey. It’s just that we can’t find a way to score goals, and that’s tough, because you need goals to win. But we’re not quitting. We’re going to work really, really hard, and we’ll see where that’s going to bring us. That’s the attitude we’ve had all season long and through the playoffs. We’re just facing a team right now that’s doing everything right.”
Martinez scored his first career playoff goal early in the second period, and Kopitar followed about 10 minutes later with his third goal in four games off an impressive pass from Brown.
The Kings could celebrate their first title at home, but their only weakness in this charmed postseason has been Game 4. They’re 10-0 on the road in the postseason, but failed to close out Vancouver and Phoenix at home in Game 4s.
No team has won the Cup with a sweep since Detroit wiped out Washington in the 1998 finals.
Last updated: 8:51 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012