Preview: New Jersey at Los Angeles
When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
THE STORY: The Los Angeles Kings are a win away from their first Stanley Cup title – and they’ll have the Staples Center crowd on their side as they look to complete the sweep Wednesday against the New Jersey Devils. The Kings are coming off what may have been their best game of the postseason, a 4-0 victory highlighted by Jonathan Quick’s third shutout of the playoffs. The young netminder is considered the odds-on favorite to take home the Conn Smythe Trophy if the Kings finish off the Devils in Game 4.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBCS, CBC, RDS
ABOUT THE DEVILS: Nothing is going right for New Jersey, which now needs to post four consecutive victories against one of the most dominant teams in playoff history. Even veteran netminder Martin Brodeur, who appeared to have turned back the clock in the first three series but stopped just 17 of 21 shots in Game 3. The Devils had their chances to generate offense in Monday’s defeat, but finished 0-for-6 on the power play. That included a stretch of 5-on-3 hockey that lasted more than a minute. “We’ve got to win four straight,” said Devils forward Zach Parise. “That’s our approach. Win the next one. That’s all we can do.”
ABOUT THE KINGS: Los Angeles has taken a level-headed approach to the postseason, and being a game away from the most coveted award in pro hockey hasn’t changed anything. “We can’t take anything for granted,” said Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. “It could have been two-nothing for them before (Game 3).” Special teams was the difference Monday night, as the Kings killed off all six New Jersey man advantage opportunities while going 2-for-2 on the power play. The second statistic is more notable, given that Los Angeles had gone five games without scoring a man-advantage goal.
1. The Kings are the first team to take a 3-0 lead in each series since the playoffs expanded to four best-of-seven rounds.
2. The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs are the only team in NHL history to rally from a 3-0 deficit to win the Stanley Cup.
3. A win in any of the next four games would make Los Angeles the first No. 8 seed to capture a Stanley Cup title.
PREDICTION: Kings 3, Devils 1.