NEWARK – Last night 17,625 Devils fans watched without gleam while the LA Kings fought for four periods to take a 2-0 lead.
Yes, the score was the same and the Game 2 scoring was almost a carbon copy of game one. The Kings showed no sympathy for the Devils as they now return home halfway to the Stanley Cup.
But game winning goal scorer Jeff Carter who scored 13:42 into overtime, isn’t taking anything for granted.
“I don’t think too much is going to change,” Carter said. “Obviously they might be on their heels a little bit. I think going into L.A., they’re going to come out hard. They’re playing desperate. They know they have to win four out of five now. They’re going to be playing their best hockey.
“I think these first two games we haven’t been at our best, so it’s about time we pick up our socks and play our best hockey, too.”
Yes, it’s going to be tough for the Devils to win the next four of five games with three of them being played in La-La land. And as we have seen during the first two games of this series, these Kings take advantage of Devils mistakes.
On Wednesday it was Anze Kopitar and last night it was Drew Doughty who took advantage of defensive mistakes from New Jersey, turning them into breakaway goals. Doughty’s came early in the first to put the Devils into the early hole, which they kept fighting to recover.
“I just saw some ice in front of me,” Doughty said of his goal. “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 so I went blocker side. I didn’t even know it went in actually, but luckily, it did.”
And unfortunate for New Jersey, which needs to figure out how they can beat Jonathan Quick. The Los Angeles goal-keep was almost perfect on the night stopping 32 shots. Only an early third period goal by Ryan Carter by a desperate Devils kept New Jersey alive.
But that is where the problem lies here for the Devils. They are not going to get a lot of scoring off Quick and Brodeur tends to give up the one-on-one breakaways. Although New Jersey tended to outplay the Kings for most of the night, one small mistake in the first gave them the lead, which allowed the Kings to command the game.
For this series to come back to New Jersey, the Devils will need to tighten their defense and will have to rely on big scorers (read: Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk) for the lion’s share of the scoring.
The fourth line can’t do it all.
“We decided the end of two periods to shuffle some lines. It wasn’t necessarily to put those three together. That was part of it. But we mixed up and got Elias, Zubrus and 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.
Unfortunately, it didn’t happen last night. Oh, they had their chances, with Kovalchuk missing a golden opportunity in overtime.
But it’s not too late. The Devils can play well in Los Angeles and bring this series back. For some reason, LA seems to play better on the road and their only losses this postseason came at the Staples Center.
But it needs to start on Monday. The Devils will be desperate and they need a win.
Los Angeles will show no sympathy.