The Los Angeles Kings are one win away from capturing the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup for the first time after beating the New Jersey Devils 4-0.
Alec Martinez and Anze Kopitar scored second-period goals for the Kings to snap a scoreless tie at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and Jeff Carter and Justin Williams added goals in the third period. Goaltender Jonathan Quick made 22 saves for the shutout as the Kings took a three-games-to-none lead in the best-of-seven championship series.
The Kings, who entered the postseason as the final seed among the Western Conference’s eight playoff teams, can win their first NHL title with a Game 4 victory at home tomorrow and become the first No. 8 seed to capture the Stanley Cup.
“We’re tasting that we’re close and that should push us even more,” Williams said at a news conference.
Los Angeles now has held a 3-0 lead in all four of its series this postseason. The Kings will seek to become the 21st team to complete a four-game sweep in the Stanley Cup Final and the first since 1998, when Detroit beat Washington.
“The fourth one is going to be the toughest one, but I’m sure on Wednesday the crowd is going to be just as excited as us,” said Kopitar, who added an assist on Williams’s goal. “Being focused is going to be a big part of it.”
The only team to rally from an 0-3 deficit and win the Stanley Cup was the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs against Detroit.
“We’ll just play the game the way we’ve always done it,” Kings center Jarret Stoll said in a televised interview when asked how the team will avoid being overconfident. “We’ll try to do the things that got us here, that’s it.”
The Kings, who won the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final 2-1 in overtime in Newark, New Jersey, took the lead last night on Martinez’s goal 5:40 into the second period.
It was Martinez’s first tally of the postseason, and Kopitar scored his eighth playoff goal less than 10 minutes later by firing an 18-foot one-timer past Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur off a pass from Dustin Brown.
Carter pushed the Kings’ lead to 3-0 at the 4:15 mark of the third period, tapping in a centering pass from Mike Richards less than a minute into a power play.
The Kings’ final goal also came with a man advantage 2:32 later when Williams fired a wrist shot at Brodeur and then poked a rebound between the legs of the Devils’ goalie. While the third-period goals prompted derisive cheers of “Mar-ty” from Kings fans, Quick completed his team-record third shutout of the postseason.
“You need outstanding goaltending to win playoff games,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “He’s given us that.”
Sutter also said the Kings’ penalty killing was a “huge factor.” Los Angeles prevented the Devils from scoring on all six of their power-play opportunities, including a five-on-three advantage at one point during the first period.
The Devils’ two goals through the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final are the fewest since 1969, when the St. Louis Blues totaled three goals in a four-game sweep by the Montreal Canadiens.