Kings move step closer to the Cup
Los Angeles - Jonathan Quick made 22 saves in his third shutout of the postseason, Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist, and the Los Angeles Kings rolled to the brink of the franchise's first NHL title, beating the New Jersey Devils 4-0 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals on Monday night to take a 3-0 series lead.
Alec Martinez scored the opening goal, and Jeff Carter and Justin Williams added late power-play goals as the Western Conference champion Kings moved one win away from finishing one of the most spectacular playoff runs in league history.
Eighth-seeded Los Angeles improved to 15-2 in the postseason and jumped to a 3-0 lead in its fourth straight series - a first in NHL history.
Game 4 is Wednesday night at Los Angeles.
Martin Brodeur stopped 17 shots, but the Devils couldn't beat the spectacular Quick or his penalty-killers, who turned aside six power plays. New Jersey must accomplish just the fourth comeback from an 0-3 series deficit in NHL playoff history to win its third title.
After opening their first Stanley Cup finals appearance in 19 years with two overtime victories in New Jersey, the Kings survived another solid performance early in Game 3 by the Devils, who had ample opportunity to take an early lead.
New Jersey has been pretty good in the finals, but nothing has been able to slow down these Kings, who seem destined to become the first No. 8 seed to win the Stanley Cup.
The Devils had never lost three straight Stanley Cup finals games in the franchise's five appearances. New Jersey hadn't lost three straight games this season since late February.
The Kings had to survive their early nerves from playing in front of their title-starved fans, and they barely hung on at times against the Devils' dynamic forechecking in the first two periods. They got another peerless performance from Quick, who has allowed just 24 goals in 17 playoff games - just two in the finals.
The Kings even got something from the power play that has been their weakest feature during the postseason, going 6 for 77 before Game 3. Carter scored his sixth goal of the postseason on a splendid setup pass from longtime teammate Mike Richards early in the third period - and Williams followed 2:32 later with a slick goal in the slot, practically blowing the roof off the sold-out building.
Martinez scored his first career playoff goal early in the second period, and Kopitar followed about 10 minutes later with his third goal in four games off a spectacular pass from captain Dustin Brown.
The Kings could celebrate their first title at home, but their only weakness in this charmed postseason has been Game 4. They're 10-0 on the road in the postseason, but failed to close out Vancouver and Phoenix at home in Game 4s.
New Jersey largely dominated play before Martinez scored the game's first goal on a scramble in front of Brodeur, and the Devils repeatedly dominated puck possession while creating six power plays in the first two periods to none for the Kings. The Devils couldn't score against the Kings' stellar penalty-killers in front of Quick, who might have nosed ahead in the derby for the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP with another shutout.
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