For the first time since April 26th, the New Jersey Devils will have to take a plane to get to Game 3. But maybe that’s just the change the Devils need to get their first win in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Down 2-0 after a pair of 2-1 overtime losses, the Devils might actually be looking forward to heading out on the road.
“We were pretty fortunate for two series not to get on a plane, going on a bus to Philly, a bus to the Rangers,” defenseman Andy Greene told Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski. “It feels good to get back into this routine a little bit, get on the road, kind of get away from home, get back to being just focused on the single thing, the game. … When you’re on the road, there’s a lot less distractions, a lot of less things to worry about. I think it will be a big plus for us tonight.”
And the Devils power play hasn’t made the finals any easier. New Jersey is 0-for-6 on the power play against the Kings, including 0-for-4 in Saturday’s overtime loss.
“Sometimes you try to push too hard, sometimes. Sometimes you [do] too much thinking, ‘We have to score from the power play,” New Jersey defenseman Marek Zidlicky told Scott Burnside of ESPN on Sunday at practice in L.A “Sometimes it’s better just play the power play like usually and just try to score. You don’t need to think ‘We just need to score right now,’ so that’s the key, I think.”
Devils head coach Peter DeBoer is sticking to his original lineup in tonight’s pivotal Game 3 despite losing in overtime in each of the first two games. DeBoer told reporters this morning there will be no changes to the New Jersey lineup.
While the Devils have struggled to score with the man advantage, the Kings power play hasn’t been any better. L.A. is 0-for-3 in the finals and is without a power-play goal in their past five games.
“Sometimes [with the] power play, you look at the percentage and you’re looking at it struggling,” captain Dustin Brown told Burnside. “The flip side of that is we have seven of our eight goals on the power play all season, five of them are a big goal, that’s a big part of it.”
But if the Devils are going to win tonight’s match-up, the power play might just be the key. New Jersey has won nine out of 12 games in which they scored a power play goal.
“I think we have to be simple,” Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk told Burnside. “At this time of the year, the power play has to be one pass and shot and screen, those kinds of goals will go in. Because we’re trying to do fancy, one-touch, saucer in the middle, it’s not going to work. We talked about it today and I’m pretty sure we’ll be different tomorrow.”
The Kings penalty kill has been extremely efficient as well. L.A. has only given up only one goal on 63 attempts while down a skater and has scored five shorthanded goals.
Perhaps most of the credit should be given to Kings netminder Jonathan Quick. Quick, the Vezina Trophy candidate, stole the show during Saturday’s Game 2. The Kings were outshot 30-21 through three periods and counted on Quick several different times to stop the Devils odd-man rushes. After New Jersey tied the game at 1-1 just 2:59 into the third period, it seemed as though the Devils were going to get their first win of the Stanley Cup Finals.
But Quick had something else in mind – keeping the Kings undefeated on the road and moving his club within two victories of holding Lord Stanley’s cup.
He can help pull his team to the brink of a championship with another victory tonight.