LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 06: Goaltender Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings lays on his back as the puck is out by Dainius Zubrus #8 of the New Jersey Devils in Game Four of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
The score was knotted at 0-0 through two periods. The Kings had the slight edge in puck possession and racked up scoring chances yet were unable to convert. The closest was Slava Voynov ringing a shot off the inside of the post at 8:50 of the 1st period. The shot beat Brodeur and even fooled the goal judge, but stayed out by only a few centimeters.
The 2nd period was where it seemed the Kings were starting to pull away. The Kings out attempted the Devils 17-9 at even strength and added 7 shots on goal in two power play opportunities. As had often been the case this season for the Kings, they weren't able to finish and allowed the Devils to stay in the game.
Then 7:56 into the 3rd period, the Devils finally took their first lead in this series. Dainius Zubrus started the play by muscling his was around Slava Voynov behind the net and passing the puck to the point. Patrick Elias bumped his way past Jonathan Quick as Bryce Salvador took a shot from the blue line. Quick who had been slightly bumped out of position gave up a rebound that popped right on to Elias' stick who drove it home for the first goal of the game.
The Devils celebration was short lived. One minute later, after a ticky tack boarding call on David Clarkson, Drew Doughty slapped a shot from the point with Dustin Brown providing a screen and it whistled passed Martin Brodeur.
The Kings continued to pile up attempts on the Devils, but the Devils were able to get more shots on net. One of which resulted in the game winning goal. With 4:38 remaining, Willie Mitchell attempted a long pass to Dwight King in the neutral zone. It lead to a turnover as Alexei Ponikarovsky batted it down the boards to David Clarkson. The Kings defense was caught out of position by the Devils' quick counter maneuver and Clarkson sent a bullet to Adam Henrique who ripped a perfectly placed goal over Jonathan Quick's shoulder.
Aside from the relief of finally taking a game in the Final, the Devils have to be concerned about a few things. They continue to be out-chanced by the Kings and in this one the Kings were able to dominate the puck for long stretches. Their biggest question marks are the play of their top line, which continues to bleed in the possession battle, and their defense. Bryce Salvador finished the game as the Devils' leader in ice time at even strength and he was also out attempted 7-21. In addition, he took two awful interference penalties. Look for Salvador to lose minutes in Game 5 if his struggles continue. On the upside, they have to feel good about finally being able to produce some goals with quality scoring opportunities.
Now the Kings will look to close out the series in Newark. There were many positives in this game if you're the Kings. The most exciting of which is the resurrection of Simon Gagne. Gagne was a force in this one and looked closer to being back to his old self. Look for him to remain in the lineup in New Jersey and possibly seeing a bump in playing time. Another positive is that they once again were able to dominate possession. If they keep throwing this type of game out there, it is going to be extremely hard for the Devils to get back in this series.
For the Devils point of view head over to In Lou We Trust.
Highlights and interviews after the jump.
Darryl Sutter had a good laugh at the expense of a pea-brained reporter:
The opening two seconds of that video is great as well. The camera slowly pans in on him as he looks likely he's been uncomfortably strapped into a stupid question chamber.
I think Rob Scuderi is my second favorite interview on the Kings roster:
Peter DeBoer was slightly happier after this game than the last one: