LOS ANGELES – At the Staples Center in Los Angeles, something happened that has become a regularity in this series – the Kings buried the first goal of the game. The only difference on Monday was that New Jersey did not have the answer and the Kings scored the second goal. Anze Kopitar won the first game for the Kings when he beat Martin Brodeur on a breakaway goal, and he basically won the Stanley Cup for them tonight when he beat Brodeur again at 15:07 of the second period. With the Devils already down 1-0 at the time and the way Jonathan Quick was dominating between the pipes, you knew that next goal had to come off a Devils’ stick for them to have any chance at all. It did not and now New Jersey faces an insurmountable deficit of 3 games to none.
Jonathan Quick was superb once again, recording his third shutout of the postseason on 22 saves Monday night. For the series he has stopped 70 of 72 shots fired his way, a ridiculous 97.2 save percentage – no, don’t pinch yourself, you aren’t dreaming. The Devils beat a Vezina Trophy and MVP candidate in Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers in six games and knew they had another tough task ahead of them, but I don’t think they expected it to be this difficult. Jonathan Quick has made burying a puck in the back of the net seem impossible in this series. In fact, the first goal the Devils scored deflected off a Kings’ defenseman, so in reality New Jersey has one clean goal through three games this series.
The Kings have continuously blitzed teams that were higher seeds than their #8, knocking out the 1-2-3 seeds in the West in order, in an impressive 5-4-5 fashion. They are now on their way to beating the #6 seed in the Eastern Conference, the same team that obliterated the bully Philadelphia Flyers in five and the top seeded New York Rangers in six, in a possible sweep.
Up until the second period of tonights game, Marty Brodeur was stupendous in net, virtually going shot for shot with Quick, the much younger goaltender. The only things that separated the hall of famer from the phenom in the prime of his career were two overtime goals. Coming into tonight’s contest, Brodeur had a very respectable 92.9 save percentage which included a handful of fantastic stops. Having been outplayed in every game so far, the series would not have even been close if it had not been for Brodeur. Unfortunately for him and the Devils, the Kings scored twice in the second and third periods tonight and put the game and series away.
Game 4 is Wednesday night and the Los Angeles Kings will look to put the Devils away on their home ice at the Staples Center. Tune in to possibly see history unfold, as the Kings aim to win their first ever Stanley Cup after 44 seasons of failure.
Follow on Twitter – @Ferrara34