Kings overpower Devils to take 3-0 series lead
For the first time in 19 years, the city of Los Angeles played host to a Stanley Cup Final game.
And after taking a 2 games to none series lead, the Kings were looking to show the Staples Center crowd the pride, passion and power they had been playing with during the first two games of the series.
While the "casual" hockey fan may have been lulled to sleep during a low-action first period that saw 13 combined shots and 30 combined hits, the following periods were anything but sleep inducing as the Kings matched their goal total of the first two games, taking game 3 with a 4-0 victory Monday night.
After killing off a 5-on-3 disadvantage late in the first period, the Kings came out in the second, and even after getting outshot early, continued to throw the puck at the net.
Defenseman Alec Martinez was credited with the games first goal after Martin Brodeur stopped the initial shot, but Martinez, Trevor Lewis and Dwight King each crashed the net as Martinez picked up the trash and found the back of the net for the games first goal.
Ten minutes later, the Kings top line got back in the points column after a quiet game 2, as Justin Williams, Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar showed the chemistry that makes them one of the top lines in the NHL as Williams found Brown before feeding Kopitar on a wrist shot past Brodeur for a two goal lead.
With Jonathan Quick giving the Kings the type of performance they had seen all season long, the offense took control.
Not letting up on the gas, the Kings took advantage of two consecutive power plays, scoring goals just over 2 minutes and thirty seconds apart, as Jeff Carter scored the third goal on a pretty pass from Mike Richards before Justin Williams goal iced the game.
This game didn't start off too pretty for the Kings, especially having to kill the 5-on-3 that included a double-minor to Carter.
But the Kings continued to show why they were the NHL's second-best defense all season long, and why their penatly kill is one of the best in the league, especially in the playoffs.
And with their backbone, Quick, stopping all 22 of the shots he saw, it made things much more frustrating for the Devils, especially heading into game 4, down three games to none in what will be even more of a hostile environment than what many saw Monday evening.
With one win, the Kings can undo years of mediocrity, living under the shadows of the Lakers and Dodgers, having to listen to fans of the Anaheim Ducks and their tales of Stanley Cup glory, not to mention being the lone expansion team left in Los Angeles.
Come Wednesday night, Staples Center will be rocking, and while the players in black and white will bring every last ounce of energy to the ice, they can expect the same from the 18,000-plus loyal fans in attendance.
For now, the Kings are one win away from hoisting Lord Stanley's Cup.
And don't look for any of the Kings to repeat what the Lakers' Andrew Bynum said during the first-round series against the Nuggets.
Close-out games are NOT easy.
Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times