Los Angeles Kings 2, New Jersey Devils 1 (OT) (LA leads the series, 2-0)
Those Who Shined
1. Jeff Carter, Center, Los Angeles Kings
At this point, it’s become an assumption that the Kings will find a way to win every road game that they play in. It doesn’t matter if they lose all momentum in the final period or allow the winning shot to glance off the post in the closing seconds; they still get it done. And tonight, it was Jeff Carter’s turn to be the hero in New Jersey. He scored the winning goal more than 13 minutes into the first overtime period, which was his first tally since his hat trick against Phoenix on May 15th. Overall, the goal was his 5th of the postseason and his 10th point — this joins him with six other teammates in the double digit points group. As an Ohio resident, I can tell you how much pain remains in the hearts of Blue Jackets fans, even months after losing the very talented Carter.
2. Jonathan Quick, Goaltender, Los Angeles Kings
C’mon, do I even have to say it anymore? Jonathan Quick is amazing. And by amazing, I mean that he is as close to unbeatable as you will find in the NHL; it’s as simple as that. Saturday night he stopped 32 of 33 shots, helped in killing all four Devil power play opportunities and picked up his 14th victory in 16 tries in the postseason. These consistent numbers have just become silly. I mean, even when he does allow a goal it is almost never one that you would expect him to stop — in this game, New Jersey’s lone tally came on a deflected puck. The only unfortunate statistic from the night (and I say this almost jokingly) is that his unbelievable streak of seven straight games without a goal allowed in the third period came to an end. Overall feelings on the performance: atta boy, Mr. Quick.
3. Martin Brodeur, Goaltender, New Jersey Devils
Let’s be honest, even if the Devils are unable to capture another Stanley Cup Championship before the end of Martin Brodeur’s legendary career, he can walk away knowing that he continued to play at an extraordinary level (not that I’m saying he is positively done after this season). Brodeur stopped 30 of 32 snipes Saturday night, which was very nearly enough to dethrone the mighty Kings. The first goal of the night came fairly early in the opening frame, and then he put together a span of about 65 minutes of scoreless hockey. Then, in overtime, he did surrender the losing tally, but that can mostly be explained by the overwhelming difference in shots on goal during the period (LA led 11-3). What I’m trying to say is that once again he played near the level of one of the NHL’s youngest stars, but just barely fell in the end. Nice job.