Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final might be determined, in part, by which team can manage its sleep better. Neither team is going to get very much in the next couple of days.
The Kings can, at least, sleep a bit easier after they beat New Jersey 2-1 in overtime of Game 2 on Saturday night at Prudential Center to take a 2-0 series lead, but things won’t be easy going forward.
Game 2 ended on Jeff Carter’s goal at 11:28 p.m. Eastern time. The Kings flew back to Los Angeles immediately, while the Devils spent the night at home and headed west on Sunday morning.
The teams will return to the ice Monday night at Staples Center, 48 hours and almost 3,000 miles later.
The Kings, oddly enough, now face something of a challenge at home. They’ve lost only two games in this postseason, and both have been at home. The Kings are 10-0 in this postseason on the road, an NHL record for most consecutive playoff road victories.
“We’re obviously very happy with where we’re at,” Kings winger Justin Williams said. “We’re not satisfied as of yet. We came here and we accomplished what we wanted to do here. We won two games. Now we’re going to try to win in front of the hometown fans.”
In the Western Conference final, the Kings beat Phoenix at home in Game 3, lost Game 4 at home and then wrapped up the series with a road victory in Game 5.
NOTES, QUOTES Trip to New Jersey included a few laughs –The Kings and New Jersey Devils had two full days between Games 1 and 2, which allowed the visitors a little time to take in nearby New York City. On Thursday, the Kings players took the bus across the river into Manhattan and caught a show at a famous comedy club. Colin Fraser, as part of his Stanley Cup final diary for NHL.com, wrote, “Every guy went. It was a good outing for everyone to relax a little bit.” –Game 2 started at 2:22 a.m. local time in Slovenia, but that didn’t discourage the residents of the small town of Jesenice, the hometown of Kings C Anze Kopitar. During Game 1, a crowd of approximately 200 people — Jesenice has a population under 2,000 — gathered to watch the game outdoors on a big screen, and a similar viewing party was set up for Game 2. Kopitar, in New Jersey, quickly got word of the celebration that took place early Thursday morning in Slovenia after he scored an overtime goal. “I think everybody was pretty excited,” Kopitar said. “I don’t think anybody was more excited than me.” QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s big. We’ve got a lead and now we’ve got to come home and do something with it. You can’t rest on it. We’ve got to get better in Game 3, especially on home ice, and be ready to go and put forth a better effort than we started with the last two games.” — Kings defenseman Matt Greene.
ROSTER REPORT PLAYER NOTES: –D Drew Doughty scored the highlight-reel goal of the postseason for the Kings as he went end-to-end in the first period and beat New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur with a wrist shot from the right circle. Doughty has been particularly strong in the last two series, offensively and defensively, and has three goals and seven assists in his last nine games. “I just saw some ice in front of me,” Doughty said. “Decided to skate with the puck. I don’t know who the D man was, but I tried to use him as a screen. Marty has that quick glove. I didn’t even know it went in, actually, but luckily it did.” –RW Jordan Nolan is the Kings’ least experienced player in terms of regular-season games played, but Nolan has looked comfortable in this postseason playing regular minutes on the Kings’ fourth line alongside C Colin Fraser and LW Brad Richardson. Nolan has played in 16 playoff games and 26 regular-season games after being called up from Manchester of the American Hockey League. The Kings have a couple of healthy wingers with more experience, but coach Darryl Sutter has been comfortable with the play of Nolan, a big-bodied winger who can move well for his size (6-foot-3, 227 pounds). “Right now we’re relatively healthy and there’s competition to play,” Sutter said. “He plays well, he stays in the lineup.” –RW Justin Williams, who plays major minutes of the Kings’ first line, played for Devils coach Peter DeBoer from 1998 to 2000 on the junior-level Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League. In 2000, Williams was drafted in the first round by the Philadelphia Flyers and signed. Asked about his earliest impressions of Williams, DeBoer said, “You could tell he was a good hockey player but was about 150 pounds. Had a great heart. Good story.”