LA Kings One Win Away From Stanley Cup Against New Jersey Devils In Game 4

2012 NHL Stanley Cup Finals Game #4
#6 New Jersey Devils at #8 Los Angeles Kings
Kings Lead Best of Seven Series 3-0

Staples Center – Los Angeles, California
Wednesday, June 6, 2012, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC Sports
Opening Money Line: Kings -175 / Devils +155
Current Money Line: Kings -180 / Devils +160
Opening Total: 4 over -110 / under -110
Current Total: 4 1/2 over -115 / under -105

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The LA Kings are one win away from sweeping the New Jersey Devils and winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history.

The Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins won the last two Stanley Cups. Each broke a long drought to win the Cup.  The Los Angeles Kings look to continue that trend. The Kings have never won the Stanley Cup in the 44 year history of the franchise. That could change tonight, as the Kings are up 3-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals against the New Jersey Devils. The Kings barely qualified for the playoffs as the #8 seed in the West, but they have been dominant in the playoffs. LA has only lost 2 games in the whole playoffs, and is the first team in NHL to take 3-0 series leads in all four rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Los Angeles, coached by Darryl Sutter, won the first two games of the series by identical 2-1 scores, both in overtime, and on the road in New Jersey. The Kings have won an NHL record 12 road playoff games in a row, including 10-0 this season. Monday night, the Kings returned home for only their seventh home playoff game this season. They were dominant in a 4-0 rout of the Devils, coached by Peter DeBoer, to take a commanding 3-0 series lead.

Only three times in NHL history has a team come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series, but it has happened recently. In 2010, the Philadelphia Flyers came back from a 3-0 deficit against the Boston Bruins to win the series in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Flyers went on to lose in the Stanley Cup Finals to Chicago that season, and the Bruins won the Cup the next season in 2011. Jeff Carter and Mike Richards were on that Flyers team, and both are now on the Kings.

Game 3 was scoreless after the first period. Kings defenseman Alec Martinez scored 5 minutes into the second period t0 give the Kings a 1-0 lead. Anze Kopitar scored 10 minutes later to give LA a 2-0 lead after 2 periods. The Kings added 2 power play goals from Jeff Carter and Justin Williams in the third to complete the rout. Those were the first power play goals for LA in the series. The Kings only had 2 power play chances total in the first two games in New Jersey. In game 3, New Jersey was 0 for 6 on the power play. New Jersey out shot the Kings 22-21, but the Kings won the face-offs 30-23. The Kings had 55 hits to 32 for New Jersey, and 12 penalty minutes to 6 for the Devils.

Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick was sensational with 22 saves. It was his third shutout of the playoffs. Quick will likely win the Conn Smythe trophy given to the playoffs MVP. He has a 1.36 goals against average in the playoffs with a .950 save percentage. He has only allowed 2 goals in the three games against New Jersey. One of those was a fluke goal that bounced off the shoulder of Kings defenseman Slava Voynov and into the net.

New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur struggled in the game 3 loss. He gave up 4 goals on just 21 shots. He kept the Devils in the first two games with his great play in the net.

New Jersey defender Henrik Tallinder is doubtful with a leg injury. Kings left winger Scott Parse is out for the season.

The under is 7-0-1 in the last 8 meetings between the Devils and Kings. The Kings have won 6 of the last 8 games against the Devils.

New Jersey is 4-0 after a loss by 3 or more goals, 8-1 on one day rest, 5-2 as a road underdog of +151 to +200, 10-4 in Wednesday games, 19-9 as a road underdog, 2-5 against Pacific teams, and 1-4 in Stanley Cup Final games.

The Kings are 9-1 as a playoff favorite, 5-1 at home, 22-5 after allowing 2 goals or less, 13-3 on one day’s rest, 12-3 in Wednesday games, 4-1 in home games, 24-7 overall, 20-6 as a favorite, against teams with winning records, and after a win, 11-4 at home against teams with winning road records, and 0-7 as a favorite of -151 to -200, including 0-6 at home.

Will New Jersey lay down tonight, knowing they have a huge mountain to climb? I don’t see that happening, as the Devils have shown a lot of heart and grit to get to this point. I think it will closer tonight than in game 3 but I don’t know if they have solved the riddle how well Quick is playing. The Kings win to take the Cup tonight, but it will be a close game. Say 3-1 Kings with a late empty netter.

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