The Devils did the impossible. They handed the Kings first road loss of the Playoffs, and in doing so, forced a game six back in Los Angeles.
Last night New Jersey took advantage of home ice with a 2-1 win in the Prudential Center. Devils Captain Zach Parise scored his first goal, and point in this series.
Parise simply stuck to his normal game plan which is forechecking relentlessly, and was rewarded with a gift from Jonathan Quick. Quick tried shooting the puck around the boards but didn’t have enough gas on it to clear the zone. Parise scooped the errand clearing attempt, and put the puck in the back of the net.
That’s a huge goal for Parise. Not only is it his first goal of the series, but it makes him look better after getting angry with reporters on Friday because they were insinuating his line wasn’t producing. I’m a huge Parise fan, but the reporters are right. As a Captain your line has to be the one producing, and in this Stanley Cup Finals series, his line hasn’t been producing much of anything.
Justin Williams would tie the game 3:26 into the second period with a nice wrist shot that beat Brodeur blocker side. That’s no surprise seeing as how 95% of the Kings goals have come from Brodeur’s blocker side (If you’re a regular follower of this site, you’ll remember me saying that Brodeur’s one week spot is his stick side).
The Devils surprise Playoff hero, Bryce Salvador would regain the lead 6:34 after Williams’ goal. Salvador, who didn’t have a goal in 82 regulation games this season, scored his fourth of the postseason on a point shot that deflected off of Kings defensemen Slava Voynov to make it 2-1.
That’s the second goal in this series that a Devils defensemen has scored a goal that has deflected off of Voynov.
The Devils had six shots in that period, and three of them came on the shift Salvador was out for when he scored. New Jersey will have to figure out a way to get more than six pucks at Quick. What New Jersey did well was block everything the Kings threw at Brodeur. The Kings had their chances and I thought they would eventually get one through, but the Devils were solid.
Unfortunately for the Devils and the Eastern Conference, the Cup will belong to the West for the Summer. The Kings will return home focused, and for Anze Kopitar–well rested. If you watch Kopitar in the third period, there’s nothing left in the tank. He hardly skated off to the bench at the end of his shifts, and his defensive play was more just skating in a circle with a 3 foot radius.
I have to give the Devils a lot of credit. Forcing a game six, shutting down the potent Kings offense, and proving me wrong when I said the Kings in five.
The reality is, the Kings will hoist the cup