NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
Kings Lead Series 3-0
I - LAK 2; NJD 1*
II - LAK 2; NJD 1*
III - LAK 4; NJD 0
GAME FOUR ~ WEDNESDAY
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
Los Angeles Kings
Some West Coast Arena
NEW JERSEY DEVILS: After Game Three Victory,
L.A. Kings Poised To Lift Lord Stanley's Cup.
Devils' Flame Reduced to a A Mere Flicker.
East Coast; West Coast; both coasts have been hell for the Devils. They only managed one goal in each of the first two games in Newark. In Game Three out in L.A., they had none. The Kings? They scored four. For the series, the Kings now have eight goals, to the Devils two. New Jersey can point directly at Jonathan Quick for most of their woes, because they actually have had quality chances. But in a word, Kings' goalie, Jonathan Quick, has had New Jersey - bedeviled.
At the other end, after L.A.'s first goal and no whistle, for Martin Brodeur, there was only aggravation. Then after L.A.'s fourth and last goal, there was dejection. The look on Coach Peter DeBoer's face was that of consternation. And for the New Jersey Devils, they now face elimination. History by the way, is not on Brick City's side.
Looking back, the Kings' long layoff between the Western Conference Finals, and Game One versus the Devils, didn't seem to bother L.A. much. There was no rust. As a matter of fact, travelling from the west coast to the east, didn't seem to bother them much either. Nor did travelling back cross-country again for Game Three. Afterall, New Jersey was making the flight for the first time. Regardless, it seems as if nothing bothers the Kings right now.
Here's a weird stat - As the Devils' scoring has now taken a steep down turn from one to zero, their power play opportunities have gone up with each passing game. New Jersey was 0-2 in Game One; 0-4 in Game Two; and 0-6 in Game Three. That's 0-12 in the series. Anyone will tell you, they needed to do better. L.A. scored the first two power play goals of the series in Game Three. Otherwise, the Kings have won the first two games at even-strength. And it's not like the Devils have spent an inordinate amount of time on the penalty kill. They've only committed five penalties all series.
The point is, the Devils have simply been getting out-played by Los Angeles, and it's happening five-on-five. New Jersey's fore check hasn't been as effective as it was in the previous two rounds, and their crisp passing isn't so crisp anymore. While you can argue the teams played fairly evenly in the first two games, and the Devils might have been shorted a break or two, the Kings still thoroughly out-everything'd the Devils in Game Three. And that's bad news considering the Devils are a long way from home. If they should slip, if only slightly again in Game Four, that means there will be no Hockey this Saturday in Newark, or L.A., or anywhere. It means the Kings' players will be taking the Cup on an unusual tour of places of the winning players choosing.
If Ilya Kovalchuck is playing hurt, no one on the Devils is saying. But he remains without a goal in this series. As does the Devils' Captain, Zach Parise, Dainius Zubrus, and Travis Zajac- meaning, the Devils first line. First line, or even the new Fourth Line of Carter, Bernier, and Gionta aside, the fact is, regular season thirty-goal scorers, Patrick Elias and David Clarkson, still remain silent in the night. The Devils' best player at the moment is rookie center, Adam Henrique.
I don't know how the Devils can pull this off. History says they can't. While we are at it, let's give full credit to Los Angeles for overwhelming the Devils thus far. We all know the Devils can't win three times in Game Four alone. They can only play, and win, one at a time. And we all know who needs to finally show up in order for them to turn this around too. But again, credit the Kings for making those same players disappear.