In identical fashion, the Los Angeles Kings extended their lead to 2-0 by defeating the Devils in overtime in last nights game two.
Los Angeles will take their 2-0 Cup Final lead back to Los Angeles with a chance to win the Cup in the Staples Center. The Kings are the first team in NHL history to go 10-0 on the road in the playoffs.
New Jersey has to feel better after suffering their second straight overtime loss in game two. They only had 17 total shots on goal in game one, but last night the Devils almost matched that total in the first period. The Problem for New Jersey was they couldn’t capitalize on their chances, and they created a lot of scoring opportunities. There were five total scoring chances in the first seven minutes of the game, and the Devils had three of them.
Unfortunately for the Devils, it’s not about how many scoring chances you get, it’s about how many you bury. For the Kings, Drew Doughty would provide an example of burying opportunities with a highlight reel goal 7:43 into the first period.
The Devils dumped the puck into the Kings zone to complete a change, and Doughty took the puck in front of Quick in his own zone. Doughty brought the puck into the neutral zone with momentum, and noticed the Devils all flat footed. Doughty weaved around Devil forwards Ryan Carter and Stephen Gionta, used Bryce Salvador as a screen, and sniped a wrist shot past Brodeur on the blocker side.
That’s been the trend for the Kings offense in this series. It’s no secret that Brodeur has arguably the quickest glove in the league, so what do you do? You stay far away from that side of the net, and shoot low blocker side. That’s been the formula for the Kings in the first two games, and it’s been working. In game one Colin Fraser scored the lone regulation goal for the Kings, and his goal was low blocker side. Anze Kopitar’s overtime game winner was a backhand forehand deke on Brodeur and he scored on the low blocker side.
Despite outshooting the Kings 11-6 in the first period, the Devils would enter the first intermission with a 1-0 lead.
That would change in the second as the Devils would tie the game 2:59 into the period.
Stephen Gionta took the puck through the neutral zone, into the offensive zone, and lightly dumped the puck in around the boards. Bernier recovered the loose puck and cycled it to the point for Marek Zidlicky. Zidlicky blasted a slap shot that deflected off of Ryan Carter and floated past Quick.
That’s the second goal the Devils have scored in this series, and it’s the second time that it was a flukey goal. In game one Anton Volchenkov threw a slap shot that bounced around in traffic, and somehow got past Quick. The Devils have generated solid scoring opportunities in this series, but their goals have been coming from lucky bounces and deflections. That just goes to show how solid Jonathan Quick has been.
Quick owns the lower half of the net, and the only chance you have of beating Quick is up high. If you look at the two goals the Devils have scored, both have been deflected high and over Quick.
The third period would be controlled by the Devils, but New Jersey would fail to convert on anything–ask Travis Zajac. Zajac had two opportunities in the third, one of which was an empty net.
Just like in game one, game two would head into overtime. Just like in game one, game two would only need one overtime period. And just like in game one, the Kings would score the game winner. This time it was Jeff Carter.
Carter was the initial player to create the scoring opportunity. Carter took the puck from neutral ice into the New Jersey zone. Carter skated to the right face-off circle and feathered a centering pass for Dustin Penner. The pass bounced over Penner’s stick, but Carter alertly followed the play. Carter skated behind the net immediately after he passed the puck to Penner, and was able to scoop the loose puck. After Carter gained control of the puck, Penner planted his 6’4″ 242 pound frame right in front of Brodeur. Carter skated to the left face-off circle and fired a low shot at Brodeur’s blocker side, and with Penner screening Marty, Carter’s shot ended the game.
You have to give the Devils credit. They played a much better game all around. They were able to keep a consistent forecheck, and contained the explosive Dustin Brown. Their only problem was their failure to convert on pivotal scoring chances. If you’re not going to put away your opportunities against the Kings–a team who is now 10-0 on the road and 14-2 overall thus far in the postseason–you’re probably going to lose. The Kings will find a way to score. They have too many weapons offensively, and Quick is dominant in net.
In my opinion, this series is already over. The Kings are quicker to the puck, they’re too skilled offensively, and Quick is a wall.
Tomorrow night is a do or die game three for the Devils.