I can’t really say it’s over yet. Simply because it’s not. However, I’m left hopeless because now that Los Angeles grabbed Game 3, the Devils have no choice but to win the next 4. Is it possible? Yes. Do I think it will happen? As much as I’d love to say yes, I’m going to take a few seconds and be a realist. It’s too much of an endeavor and based on how the Devils have played compared to how the Kings have played, it’s virtually impossible.
Great energy towards this one. I felt as if the Devils were going to break through with a couple of goals but Jonathan Quick held his ground. Similarly, Marty Brodeur stopped the Kings’ offensive forays yet I would still give the edge in momentum to NJ. Mike Richards of LA took an elbowing call at the 5:25 point and a minute later, Jeff Carter took a double minor for high sticking. This gave the Devils a 1 minute, 5-on-3 power play which they failed to take advantage of! As the double minor portion of the power play was set to begin, Marek Zidlicky (who I will just refer to as Bum now because Devils fans are convinced of his inconsistency) took a tripping penalty, offsetting the majority of the Devils’ power play. After the 4-on-4, the Devils had 39 seconds of power play time and to no one’s surprise, didn’t score. To me this was the turning point of the game. The positive to take from this period as both teams headed to their respective locker rooms, was that the game was still scoreless.
New Jersey played the first few minutes of this period with a lot of activity in Los Angeles’ zone. Note though, it was only the first few minutes. I have no clue why the Devils lost it there. At the14:20 point, Dwight King/Alec Martinez of LA seemed to have batted the puck while Marty had it covered under his pads. Eventually the puck found its way to the back of the net. The goal was credited to Martinez, his first of the playoffs, assisted by King and Trevor Lewis, but I suspect some terrible officiating on that call. However, I can’t blame the refs completely because of the amount of power plays that were given to the Devils. Anze Kopitar for holding and Dustin Penner for goalie interference but the Devils power play was lackluster once again. With 4:53 to go, Kopitar one timed a pass on the forehand from Kings captain Dustin Brown past Marty to give LA a 2-0 lead. To be honest at this point, a shutout for Quick was inevitable. Simon Gagne took a slashing penalty towards the end of the period but even though the power play would carry over into the third, I knew there wasn’t any reason to believe that NJ would break it open at the start of the third.
Just like I predicted it, nothing happened on the Devils power play. They didn’t score nor did they generate a ton of chances either. In the early few minutes of the third, Mark Fayne and Bum both took penalties and guess what? Los Angeles scored on both of them. Carter scored his 6th of the playoffs at the 15:45 point with the assists going to Richards and Willie Mitchell and then at the 13:13 point, Justin Williams scored his 3rd of the playoffs, with the assists going to Drew Doughty and Kopitar. 4-0 was now the score and that would not change. Quick earned a well-deserved shutout and New Jersey now trails the series 3-0, in search of a miracle.
Next Game (and potentially the last game of the season): Wednesday, June 6th, 2012: Game 4 Devils @ Kings from Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA at 8 P.M. (EST) on NBC Sports Network.
Key Notes: Not a lot here from the Devils point of view. Simon Gagne returned from a long absence due to an injury for the Kings. You can pretty much say the Kings are the Flyers of the West since they now have Carter, Richards, Gagne, and Williams, all ex-Flyers. New Jersey was 0/6 on the power play and 0/2 on the penalty kill – hello this is the Stanley Cup! Wake up! But it’s probably too late to do that now. Wing the next 4 games because any “strategy” won’t help, in my opinion.
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