Los Angeles Kings 1, New Jersey Devils 2 (LA leads the series, 3-2)
Those Who Shined
1. Martin Brodeur, Goaltender, New Jersey Devils
The Kings lengthy road winning streak is over and the momentum of the series is slowly beginning to shift thanks in large part to the play of the legendary netminder. Martin Brodeur stopped 25 of the 26 shots that he faced Saturday night, including all nine in the final frame. He also helped in preventing a Los Angeles tally in each of its power play opportunities. And, perhaps most importantly, he outplayed Jonathan Quick for the second consecutive game — a feat that hasn’t been seen in this postseason. Overall, Brodeur has now won 14 playoff games in 2012 and has limited opponents to 2.00 goals per game, which is his best numbers since the 2002-2003 season (the last time the Devils won a Stanley Cup). Admittedly, winning two more games in-a-row will be an incredibly tough task; but, Brodeur is playing at a level that certainly won’t hurt New Jersey’s chances.
2. Bryce Salvador, Defenseman, New Jersey Devils
If you have been following my posts during this postseason, you would know that the one guy that I have quietly been ranting about for much of the postseason is Bryce Salvador. I know that Martin Brodeur is great, and the Devils obviously have some dynamic scoring options; but, Salvador continues to be your X-factor. It’s as simple as that. Saturday night he tallied the game-winning goal, which gave him three points over the last two victories. And, this performance continued a shocking trend that I have brought up on many ocassions. When Salvador records at least one point, the Devils have not lost in this postseason. It is simply amazing. But, the craziness doesn’t stop there. In the regular season he picked up just nine points with no goals, but in this postseason he is up to 13 points already — four of those coming on goals. It’s surprising players like this that seem to pop up on any championship contending team.
3. Zach Parise, Left Wing, New Jersey Devils
Not surprisingly, Zach Parise was the man that first put the Devils on the board Saturday night. It was his eighth goal of the postseason and gave him 15 points, which is the second best mark on the club to this point. However, what was surprising and perhaps critical moving forward, was that Parise’s tally was the first power play goal in the series for New Jersey. In fact, they had gone 0-for-15 in the first four games, which means that they had blown numerous chances to beat the sure-handed Los Angeles goaltender. Now, I’m not saying this one shot will positively change the outcome of this series, but it is huge for a team to finally see success with the man advantage. It should instill a bit of confidence that may have been lost during the complete failure in that situation in the other four games.