Kings One Win Away After Trouncing Devils 4-0
Yes, lightsabers. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
One more win. Drop those three words around any long-suffering Los Angeles Kings fan and you’re bound to see grown men reduced to tears. There’s also endless elation from fans of all ages as they shout, hoot, and holler until the sun rises the next morning. It promises to be a glorious moment when it happens, and it could be Wednesday. One more win.
That’s where the Kings sit this morning roughly nine hours after shutting out New Jersey by a score of 4-0 to take a three games to none series lead. Alec Martinez, Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, and Justin Williams recorded the tallies for Los Angeles and Jonathan Quick stopped all twenty-two shots that came his way. It was Quick’s third shutout of the 2012 postseason—a team record.
Not only did the Kings win the game, but they essentially buried all their previous shortcomings in the process. The power play woes which plagued Darryl Sutter’s offensive attack for the last few weeks? Gone. The Kings scored on both man-advantage opportunities they were given to ice the contest in the waning moments of the third period. The team has also been notorious for recently dropping games at home (they’ve lost a whopping two times at the Staples Center, their only playoff losses to date), but that would not be case this time around. With the win, the Kings become the first team in the history of American professional sports to take 3-0 series leads in all four series. That in itself is absolutely remarkable.
New Jersey had a few quality scoring chances in the game, most notably an extended five-on-three power play after a Mike Richards elbowing call and subsequent double minor given for a Jeff Carter high stick. The Devils did not score. They were also unable to record a single shot on net during their three power plays in the second period. The Kings’ penalty kill, as impressive as ever, has now killed off sixty-four of their last sixty-nine for an exceptional 92.8% efficiency.
Most importantly, the Devils just look beat. Quick has clearly mustered himself inside the opposition’s head, to the point where they feel as if no deficit is ever going to be overcome. Coming off the heels of a particularly grueling Eastern Conference Finals, it’s hard to envision a scenario where they are able to turn this into a compelling series.
For L.A., it’s one more win.
More notable statistics (per Elias):
- The Kings haven’t allowed three or more goals in any of their seventeen playoff games. That ties the record for most such games with the 2008 Red Wings and 2012 Rangers.
- Fewest goals scored through first three games of Stanley Cup Final: 1945 Red Wings (0), 1952 Canadiens (2), 1969 Blues (2), 2012 Devils (2).
- With a win on Wednesday, the Kings will have a playoff record of 16-2, a mark only achieved by the 1987-88 Oilers.
Just because—Conn Smythe Power Rankings:
1. Jonathan Quick – Duh.
2. Dustin Brown – The main catalyst for the previous three series has been largely unnoticeable so far, but look for the captain to reassert himself in a pivotal situation to close out this series.
3. Anze Kopitar – A couple of clutch goals, his forte over the last few seasons, have elevated the league’s only Slovenian player to star status. He’s also tied for the lead in individual postseason points (18) with Ilya Kovalchuk.