Jonathan Quick is having a historic playoff run.
No goaltender who has made it past the first round of the playoffs has had a better save percentage than JQ. He was on his game again tonight. For the second game in a row, the Kings as a whole lost the shot attempt battle 60-42 overall.
Quick would have been the center of our Game 3 recap, if not for the extraordinary effort of the Kings penalty kill. The Devils were 0-6 on the power play and only managed 3 shots on goal.
The Kings had 5 penalties to the Devils' 1 in the first two periods, including a 5 on 3 advantage after Jeff Carter's high stick on Adam Henrique. That is when Jarret Stoll, Willie Mitchell, and Matt Greene stepped on the ice and only allowed one shot. The penalty kill along with Jonathan Quick have been among the greatest sources of strength for this team throughout the season, and remained so in Game 3.
The Kings' ability to possess the puck had been another source of strength. Tonight, the Devils had their defensemen pinch hard to keep the play driving in the Kings' zone at all costs. But the Kings resorted to short counter-attacks that often produced quality opportunities.
The first goal of the game 5:40 into the second period was one example. Dwight King drove to the net and whacked at the puck which was lodged under Marty Brodeur's pad, eventually freeing it for Alec Martinez to drive it home. The Devils, led by an irate Brodeur, felt that the play should have been blown dead.
Soon after the Kings killed off another penalty, Quick led yet another incredible kill to keep the Kings ahead. The team was seemingly energized by their penalty killing unit. 6 minutes later the Kings scored on a Showtime transition goal. Kopitar led a breakout and sent a cross ice pass to Williams who banked the puck behind his back to Dustin Brown. Brown then sent a bullet to Kopitar, who had beaten Zach Parise down the ice, and swished the puck past Brodeur.
The Kings added two more to seal it, and are now one win away from the Stanley Cup. If they win the next one, it will be the first sweep since 1998, when the Red Wings swept the Capitals. It would also tie the NHL record of fewest losses on the way to a 16 win Cup.
For the Devils point of view head over to In Lou We Trust
Highlights and interviews after the jump.
Darryl Sutter credited the penalty kill for the victory tonight:
Dustin Brown became slightly emotional at the realization of how close the team is:
An irritable Peter DeBoer also credited the Kings penalty kill and had a lot to say about the controversial first goal: