Three key aspects of the Kings’ 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils…
1. A FIRST-GOAL SERIES
Say the same thing enough, and it starts to sound like a cliche, even if it’s completely true. There’s no way to understate it: the team that scores the first goal in this series has a 5-0 record. It’s not just an empty statistic. The Kings and Devils are two teams that play well with the lead. Other than Game 3, this has been a low-scoring series. Two goals has been enough to win three of the games. Scoring the first goal gets a team halfway there, and Jonathan Quick’s puck-handling blunder single-handedly put the Kings in a hole. He’s been brilliant this year, but that was a massive mistake at a huge point in the series.
2. OLDIE BUT A GOODIE
May we all be as good at what we do, when we’re “over the hill,” as Devils goalie Martin Brodeur. The 40-year-old goalie has a lot of miles on him, but he looks fresh and sharp. Yes, Brodeur has greatly benefited from goal-post help in the last two games, but he also puts himself in superb position almost every time, meaning that it will take a perfect shot to beat him cleanly. Brodeur can also make the big save when called upon, and his puck-handling skills help out the Devils’ defensemen. Later in the game, the Devils pushed the Kings to the outside, and Brodeur was quite comfortable facing long-range shots.
3. BOUNCE-BACK GOAL
Once again, the Devils did to the Kings what the Kings have done to teams throughout this postseason run: answer a goal with a goal. It happened in Game 4, when the Kings tied the game in the third period and the Devils regained the lead less than seven minutes later. That gap narrowed in Game 5. Justin Williams scored 3:26 into the second period, and the Kings had all the momentum. Less than two minutes later, Jarret Stoll had a clear path to the net, but Martin Brodeur made the save. Then, at the 9:05 mark, the Devils got a good-bounce goal and took the game back. This time, they didn’t give it away again.
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