New Jersey Devils @ Los Angeles Kings
Stanley Cup Final, Game 3
8:00 ET… TV: NBC Sports Network, CBC
Players to watch:
NJ- Zach Parise
NJ- Zach Parise
It’s pretty simple: the Devils need their stars to elevate their game. Los Angeles’ top players have come through in the key moments; New Jersey’s have not. Captain Parise doesn’t have a point yet in this series; that will have to change tonight.
LA- Dustin Brown
The Kings captain has also been shut out from the stat sheet thus far in this series. Brown came away with zero shots in Game 2 and wasn’t effective in Game 1. In front of the home fans, look for Brown to play with a lot of passion in this one.
Projected starting goaltenders:
NJ- Martin Brodeur (Playoff stats: 12-7, 2.00 GAA)
LA- Jonathan Quick (Playoff stats: 14-2, 1.44 GAA)
LA- Simon Gagne (concussion, out)
Three things to watch:
1. Is Quick in the Devils’ heads?
Through two games, Quick has stopped 48 of the 50 shots he has faced – but the Vezina Trophy finalist has been even better than those numbers suggest. Quick couldn’t do anything about the two goals he has surrendered thus far. He has been tough to beat in crunch time with the game on the line, so much so that the Devils appear to be losing confidence facing him.
2. Both special teams stymied
So far neither team has had the upper hand in special teams. The Devils’ and Kings’ power plays are a combined 0-for-9 in the two games, with the Kings’ penalty kill looking the most impressive. One constant for the Devils this postseason has been their power play. However, Darryl Sutter’s gang has shut out the Devils on all six of their power plays. Can either team break the seal on the man advantage tonight?
3. Overtime – again?
The first two games went to overtime. Could we be in store for another overtime period tonight? It’s not too farfetched. When you think about New Jersey’s desperation factor, along with the fact that the Kings have been better on the road than at home this spring, this should be a close game. If this contest does go to overtime, it’d be the first time since 1951 that the first three games of the Cup Final have needed a fourth period.
This series is quickly getting away from the Devils. Their stars aren’t matching the Kings’ stars ‘clutch-ness’ one bit. Parise, Kovalchuk, Zajac – this needs to be their coming out party. The problem is they are facing a Kings team that is nearly invincible right now. A Kings win tonight would give them a 3-0 series lead and set up a festive atmosphere heading into Game 4. At this point, how can you pick against L.A.?
Prediction: Kings 3, Devils 2
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