Devils Host Kings in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals

2012 NHL Stanley Cup Finals Game #2
#8 Los Angeles Kings at #6 New Jersey Devils
Kings lead best of 7 series 1-0
Prudential Center – Newark, New Jersey
Saturday, June 2, 2012, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC
Opening Money Line: Kings -115 / Devils -105
Current Money Line: Devils -115 / Kings -105
Opening Total: 4 1/2 over -110 / under -110
Current Total: 4 1/2 over -115 / under -105

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The LA Kings try to take a 2-0 series lead against the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Kings have won 9 straight playoff road games this season.

Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Kings won game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals 2-1 in overtime against the New Jersey Devils. The Kings have won an NHL record 9 straight road playoff games to start the Stanley Cup playoffs, and have won 11 straight dating back to last year. The #8 seeded Kings, coached by Darryl Sutter, have only lost 2 playoff games this season to advance to their first Stanley Cup Final since 1993. Sutter took over the struggling Kings in December. Both losses occurred at home for LA when they were up 3-0 in the series against Vancouver in the first round and Phoenix in the Western Conference Finals. In between the Kings swept St. Louis. The Canucks, Blues, and Coyotes were the top 3 seeds in the West.

New Jersey is also an unlikely Stanley Cup Finalist. The #6 seed Devils, coached by Peter DeBoer, beat #3 Florida in 7 games. Then the Devils beat arch rivals #5 Philadelphia in 5 games in the semifinals, and the #1 New York Rangers in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals. In all three series the Devils lost game one before rebounding to take the series.

In game one of the series, Kings’s center Colin Fraser scored 10 minutes into the first to give LA a 1-0 lead. Neither team scored again until late in the second when the Devils tied it up on a fluke goal from Anton Volchenkov. Volchenkov shot the puck in front of the net, and Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick made the save. However, it stayed airborne and bounced of Kings’ defenseman Slava Voynov’s shoulder and into the net.

Neither team scored in the third period. Although, Zach Parise put the puck in the net for the Devils with 16 minutes to go, it was disallowed when replay showed Parise clearly swept the puck in with his hand after a wild scramble in front of the net. The New Jersey crowd obviously didn’t like the call but it was the right one. Six minutes later, Devils’ defenseman Mark Fayne missed a wide open net from the edge of the crease. Anze Kopitar scored for the Kings in overtime with 11:47 left in the period on a beautiful breakaway to give the Kings the game one win.

Both goalies had relatively easy nights, but both teams also missed on some good goal scoring chances. Quick made 17 saves on 18 shots, and New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur made 23 saves on 25 shots.  Brodeur is 40 years old and has won 3 Stanley Cups. The sure Hall of Famer made several key saves that kept the Devils in the game. Early in the second, Brodeur made a fantastic save on a point blank shot from Kopitar. He also made good stops against Jeff Carter and Dustin Penner.

Neither team scored on the power play. The Kings only had one power play chance, and the Devils had 2. New Jersey had 44 hits to 35 for the Kings. The Kings won 31 face-offs and the Devils won 25.

Defenseman Drew Doughty, center Jordan Nolan, and right winger Justin Williams all had assists for the Kings. Kopitar, C Mike Richards, and C Jarret Stoll took most of the face-offs for the Kings.

RW David Clarkson and center Patrik Elias both had assists on the Volchenkov goal. LW Ilya Kolvalchuk was held to only one shot on goal for the whole game.

The road team is 5-2 in this series recently. The under is 5-0-1 in this series including 3-0-1 in New Jersey.

The Kings are 5-0 as a road underdog, 5-1 as a playoff underdog, 14-3 in road games against teams with winning home records, 13-3 in road games, 20-6 after allowing 2 goals or less, 16-5 after a win, 22-7 overall, 19-7 against teams with winning records, and 6-13 in Saturday games.

The Devils are 6-1 after scoring 2 goals or less, 5-1 as a favorite, 26-7 as a -150 or less favorite, 10-3 in home games, 8-3 against teams with winning records, and overall, 5-2 at home against teams with winning road records, 36-15 as a home favorite, 45-19 as a favorite, and 50-22 as a home favorite of -150 or less.

Both teams seemed a little tentative in game one. This is to be expected, because it is game one of the Stanley Cup Finals against a relatively unknown opponent. Yes, the two teams played very early in the season, but they haven’t played since October 25. That might as well be 10 years ago. The Kings are on a fantastic run on the road that no one could have predicted before teh playoffs started. I like the Kings to win their 10th straight road game, to take a 2-0 lead back to LA.

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