New Jersey Devils lacking offense in 2 home losses to Los Angeles Kings
By AP FeedFoxSports
The New Jersey Devils are suddenly hoping that the Los Angeles Kings' road magic is contagious.
After rolling through Philadelphia and the New York Rangers in the previous two rounds by winning eight of 10 to reach the Stanley Cup finals, the Devils are quickly understanding what it is like to be ambushed by the Los Angeles Kings, who have won 10 straight away from home.
For the second straight game, goalie Martin Brodeur and the Devils were beaten 2-1 in overtime by the Kings, who have carried an invincibility throughout the playoffs.
''We can't do anything (about it now),'' captain Zach Parise said Saturday night of the two home losses. ''We're down 2-0. It's hard, but we're not going to quit. We'll regroup, try to win Game 3 and go from there.''
That one will be Monday in Los Angeles, and Game 4 will be played on Wednesday. If the Devils can get at least one of those, they will host Game 5 next Saturday night.
New Jersey hasn't had to get on a plane for a road game since Game 7 of the first round against Florida. If the Devils don't pick up the scoring pace in a hurry, they will soon be flying home from the West Coast to clean out their lockers.
''We're still alive,'' said Brodeur, who was sharp in making 30 saves. ''We're still in great shape to do something amazing.''
Brodeur allowed a goal to defenseman Drew Doughty just 7:49 in on the Kings' fourth shot, and then was perfect for the next 65 minutes, 53 seconds until Jeff Carter scored 13:42 into overtime with a drive Brodeur said he had trouble picking up through a screen.
In Game 1 on Wednesday, Anze Kopitar scored on a breakaway off a busted defensive coverage by the Devils to win it.
''It's all about performance and bounces here and there that make the difference,'' Brodeur said. ''We'll travel to LA and try to do what they did to us.''
The Devils nearly grabbed their first lead of the series in the final minute of regulation when a shot by Ilya Kovalchuk struck the crossbar behind goalie Jonathan Quick and stayed out.
Los Angeles has won the first three games in each of its first three series. The Devils weren't about to label Game 3 as a must-win, but the chances of a comeback from an 0-3 hole are remote.
Several New Jersey players said they had jitters in the series opener, but those seemed to be gone in Game 2 as the Devils picked up their game and looked more like the team that knocked out the Flyers and Rangers in the previous two rounds.
''It's tough, but you can't feel sorry for yourself,'' Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. ''We played a much better game. I knew we would respond. We did it the right way ... came up one goal short.''
The Devils have now played three straight overtime games, winning Game 6 against the Rangers before dropping two to the Kings. With goals at a premium, New Jersey will have to do a better job with the power-play chances it is getting. The Devils have scored on only three of their past 29 advantages over eight games, and are 0 for 6 against the Kings.
''Both games, more so tonight, the opportunities were there,'' Parise said. ''We just have to put them in. We played a lot better today, we just have to score.''
DeBoer changed up his top three lines to try to jump-start the sagging offense, and created the trio of Parise, Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac for the third period.
''We decided at the end of two periods to shuffle some lines,'' DeBoer said. ''It wasn't necessarily to put those three together. That was part of it. We mixed up and got (Patrik) Elias, (Dainius) Zubrus, and (Adam) Henrique together. I like how they played. It was just a shot in the arm to try to find a goal. We haven't scored enough, obviously.''
The Devils did take some consolation in the fact that the games are close, and that they are increasing their scoring chances. If they can find a way to score in Southern California, the series could quickly shift in their favor.
New Jersey only has to look back to last year to see that the Boston Bruins rebounded from an 0-2 deficit — both one-goal losses — against the Vancouver Canucks and captured the Cup.
But they didn't expect to lose two straight at home.
''Whether it's hard (to believe) or not, we did,'' Parise said.