Stick a fork in the Devils. This series is over.
Well, not yet. There’s still at least one more game to play. But the Kings’ decisive Game 3 victory over the Devils was a clear signal that their first Stanley Cup win is awfully imminent.
The Devils will say they had their share of scoring chances – and they’re right. They had six power plays in the game. As it turned out, just like the first two games of this series, the Devils would have been better off just declining the power play (if that was allowed).
Los Angeles, up 2-0 in the series going into tonight’s contest, won Game 3 in the first period when their penalty kill stepped up.
The Devils had a lengthy 5-on-3 advantage late in the first that was killed off thanks to the stellar goaltending of Jonathan Quick, who made 22 saves tonight for his third shutout of the playoffs. The Devils had three more power play opportunities in the second period, all of which went by the wayside.
Just as the Devils saw their opportunities come and go, the Kings pounced on theirs and took a stranglehold on the series in the second period.
Former Miami Redhawk Alec Martinez led off the scoring for the Kings when he jammed a loose puck past Martin Brodeur. Later on in the second period, Anze Kopitar buried a beautiful feed from Dustin Brown to put the Kings up 2-0.
They weren’t done.
In the third period the Kings showed the Devils what a successful power play looks like. Jeff Carter and Justin Williams each scored with the man advantage, less than three minutes apart, to give the Kings a 4-0 lead early in the final frame. They kept their foot on the pedal and displayed something that they hadn’t yet showed this series – a killer instinct.
Even though Games 1 and 2 were decided in overtime, the Kings have had more of a will to win than the Devils throughout this series. Not to say the Devils don’t want to win the Cup, but Darryl Sutter’s club is doing all of the necessary things to get to Win No. 16.
Game 3 didn’t need overtime. The Kings were dominant and they got better as the game went on. The Devils? Well, they failed to show any sort of resiliency that they’ve had most of this postseason. Now their hopes of winning a fourth Stanley Cup are all but history.
Meanwhile, the Kings are on the verge of clinching their first Stanley Cup. When you watch them, it’s hard to believe that they are a No. 8 seed and barely made the playoffs. Right now they look like a No. 1 seed that won a Presidents’ Trophy.
They have a 15-2 playoff record and are 60 minutes away from raising hockey’s Holy Grail.
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