Preview: New Jersey at Los Angeles
When: 8:00 PM ET, Monday, June 4, 2012
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
With another bout of road dominance behind them, the Los Angeles Kings find themselves halfway to their first Stanley Cup championship as they host the New Jersey Devils in Monday’s Game 3. The Kings gained the upper hand in the best-of-seven series with identical 2-1 overtime victories in Games 1 and 2. Jeff Carter was the hero Saturday night as his turnaround wrist shot beat Martin Brodeur and improved the Kings to 10-0 on the road in the playoffs.
ABOUT THE DEVILS: New Jersey players were saying all the right things after dropping a second straight heartbreaker, but history is clearly against the club as the series shifts to Los Angeles. Only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1959 Montreal Canadiens have come back to win the Stanley Cup after dropping the first two games at home. Forward Ryan Carter, who scored in Game 2, says his team may not be as dominant away from home as the Kings have been – but it hasn’t been a slouch, either. “We’ve been a strong road team all year,” he said. “If we play our game we feel we can win on any sheet of ice, home or away.”
Outside of the early-season trip to Los Angeles, the Devils only ventured as far west as Edmonton, Calgary and Phoenix, all of which fall in the Mountain Time zone. They played the two other California clubs – Anaheim and San Jose – at home and also hosted the Vancouver Canucks in their only meeting this year.
ABOUT THE KINGS: Prior history benefits Los Angeles in at least one other way. Saturday’s win made the Kings just the fourth team ever to take a 2-0 lead in all four of their post-season series (1981 New York Islanders, 1988 Edmonton Oilers, 2008 Detroit Red Wings). All three of those teams went on to prevail in the Stanley Cup. Yet, despite having a sizable lead, Kings forward Justin Williams says he and his teammates aren’t settling in. “We’re not satisfied as of yet,” he said. “We came here and we accomplished what we wanted to do here. We won two games. Now we’re going to try to win in front of the hometown fans.”
1. New Jersey is just 1-5 in postseason series in which it has dropped the first two games, prevailing only against the Boston Bruins in 1994.
2. Eight different Kings have scored game winners so far in the postseason, led by captain Dustin Brown with three.
3. The Devils’ top three scorers – Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac – are a combined minus-12 in the playoffs.