Kings close in on 1st title after Game 3 win
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Kings are a win away from their first Stanley Cup title.
They took care of things in regulation this time.
Jonathan Quick made 22 saves for his third shutout of the playoffs and the Kings killed off all six New Jersey power plays in a 4-0 win Monday to take a 3-0 series lead over the Devils.
Alec Martinez and Anze Kopitar scored in the second period and Jeff Carter and Justin Williams added power play goals in the third for the Kings, who won a home game in the Stanley Cup finals for the first time.
It was the fourth time this postseason the Western Conference's No. 8 seed took a 3-0 series lead.
Game 4 is Wednesday in LA.
"We are just trying to win one game here, that's all we are trying to do," said Quick. "We're taking it one game at a time. We came in today looking to win one game and we were able to do that. We are just looking to win one game on Wednesday."
Martin Brodeur and the Devils probably find no comfort being in the same boat as the Canucks, Blues and Coyotes, the other teams that trailed the Kings 0-3 and lost.
They are on the ropes after losing the first two games in overtime at home, giving the Kings a record-tying 10 wins away from home in the postseason.
"We will be a desperate team," said Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk. "Our backs are against the wall. We can't lose anymore. We are going to fight through the end, obviously. It's never easy. We're going to fight anyway [to the] last second."
Brodeur gave up all four goals on 21 shots for the Devils, whose six failed power plays included a 5-on-3 opportunity in the first period.
Quick raised his playoff save percentage to .950 and lowered his goals-against average to 1.36, making his case to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoffs MVP if the Kings can pull it out.
The numbers are even better than the sparkling stats that made him a Vezina Trophy finalist in the regular season.
"You need outstanding goaltending to win playoff games. He's given us that," said Kings coach Darryl Sutter.
The Kings got Simon Gagne back for the first time since the veteran forward suffered a concussion Dec. 26 and he played a little over 6 1/2 minutes.
Fans in LA finally got to see a playoff win in person. Both Kings home games in the 1993 finals against Montreal ended with John LeClair scoring overtime winners for the Canadiens.
After Kopitar scored the OT winner in Game 1 last Wednesday and Carter did it three nights later, the Kings enjoyed a stress-free finish in this one.
Early in the second, Brodeur had the puck pinned beneath his left pad during a scramble but Dwight King hammered away at it and Martinez rushed in for a last swipe, finally getting it over the goal line 5:40 in for a 1-0 lead.
Brodeur seemed to argue that the whistle should have been blown to stop play. Devils coach Peter DeBoer said the play should have been blown dead if refs lost sight of the puck, even if they couldn't get the whistle to their mouth.
"I'd like to hear an explanation for it. I didn't get that opportunity," he said.
Brodeur was sliding from his left to his right when Kopitar scored to make it 2-0 with 4:53 left in the second. Dustin Brown found him with a cross-ice pass and Kopitar beat Brodeur from the low left circle on a bang-bang play.
The Devils had their sixth power play spanning the second and third periods, but again failed to score.
Meanwhile, the Kings cashed in on both their power play chances in the third.
The first one came on Carter's one-timer from the left side on former Flyers teammate Mike Richards' pass from the end boards. Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell had kept the puck in the zone by catching a failed New Jersey clear at the left boards.
Just 2:32 later Williams, another former Flyer, got his own rebound off a shot from the left circle and beat Brodeur on the follow-up to make it 4-0 just 6:47 into the final period.
Earlier, the Kings fought off a 5-on-3 in the first period after Richards was whistled for elbowing and Carter went off on a four-minute double minor after catching Adam Henrique in the face with a high stick.
The best chance came from Zach Parise, whose tip from the slot on a Patrik Elias pass was stopped by Quick.
Moments later, Devils defenseman Marek Zidlicky went off for tripping to make it a 4-on-4.
"We needed to get the first goal. We had some power play opportunities and couldn't score one," said DeBoer.
The last sweep in the Stanley Cup Finals was the Detroit Red Wings over the Washington Capitals in 1998. The Red Wings also swept the Philadelphia Flyers a year earlier -- part of a streak of four straight years of sweeps starting in 1995...Nine of the 11 road teams to win the first two games of the finals have gone on to capture the Stanley Cup...Wayne Gretzky, who guided the Kings to their first Stanley Cup appearance in 1993, dropped the ceremonial first puck.
06/05 00:11:59 ET