Devils Get Crowned, Down 2-0
Newark -- Kings forward Jeff Carter picked a very opportune time to make a play in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. He did a great job of shielding the puck from Devils defenders, two of them, and then he sent off a wrist shot from the slot that found the back of the net to give his team the 2-1 win and 2-0 series lead.
Dustin “Pancakes” Penner did a nice job of screening Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur. Before this shift at 13:42 into OT both of these players were having fairly ordinary games and then they stepped it up and now the Kings will fly back home to watch Wayne Gretzky drop the puck on an important Game 3 where they have a chance to grab hold of this series.
“Huge goal. Huge momentum for us coming back,” said Kings captain Dustin Brown (who looked exhausted). “We’ve worked hard to get ourselves into this situation and it responsibility and awareness to take advantage of going back home.”
“I wasn’t scouting Marty at the time,” said Penner when asked if he saw a hole when Carter was shooting. “I was just trying to get in the front of net. Whenever a right or left shot is wheeling around the top of the circle, across the grain, has a pretty good chance of going in if there’s traffic in front.”
The Devils started out much stronger than in Game 1. Stephen Gionta had a great scoring chance early in the first and they really had Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick moving. But just like Game 1 they couldn’t score.
“We’re heading into a huge Game 3 here and we have to start it the same way,” said Devils forward Stephen Gionta.
Ryan Carter drew the first penalty of the game when he enticed Matt Greene into a cross check. But the Devils failed on the power play.
The Kings were getting outplayed but yet again the Devils couldn’t convert and then Drew Doughty made some nice moves and used Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador as a shield and the puck was wristed past Brodeur at 7:49 of the first period.
Shortly after that Willie Mitchell cross checked David Clarkson. Devils veteran Patrik Elias had a great scoring chance on the power play but with a nice angle Kings backstop Jonathan Quick made a brilliant skate save.
At the 7:35 mark Devils captain Zach Parise found a seam and ripped off a nice wrister that Quick saved. It was a play that saw him step up but that was his one shining moment in this game.
A little later in the period Kings forward Mike Richards was stoned by Martin Brodeur. He got there first and was in perfect position. He never saw the puck but he made the save.
The Kings dominated most of the second period. The Kings Doughty lost his stick midway in the second and Travis Zajac passed the puck to the Parise and he missed the net. The Devils struggles continued.
Devils forward David Clarkson was starting to drive to the net on the Devils third power play of the game. He made a nice shot that Quick made a nice kick save on to keep New Jersey scoreless.
The Devils 4th line did it again. Ryan Carter only had 9 shifts headed into the third period and when Marek Zidlicky shot one on net, Carter deflected it in at 2:59 to make it a 1-1 game.
This game featured amazing goaltending. Most people have already penciled in Quick as the Conn Smythe but Brodeur (stopped 30 shots) has kept his team within striking distance in two games now. In OT he made some great saves and fans were chanting his name. Quick (stopped 32 shots) also stopped a Kovalchuk blast; he also hit a crossbar in the third period. He also made a sprawling leg save off a shot from Devils forward Jacob Josefson.
This series just might have a few twists and turns before it’s over but so far the Kings have done a great job of taking the Devils out of their game plan.
photo by del Tufo