Up 3-1 LA Kings Try To Win Stanley Cup in New Jersey Against Devils

2012 NHL Stanley Cup Finals Game #5
#8 Los Angeles Kings at #6 New Jersey Devils
Kings lead Best of Seven Series 3-1
Prudential Center – Newark, New Jersey
Saturday, June 9, 2012, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC

Opening Money Line: Kings -120 / Devils +100
Current Money Line: Kings -115 / Devils -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 are one win away from their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. The Kings have won an NHL record 12 straihgt road playoff games dating back to last year.

Wednesday night, the New Jersey Devils did what they had to do. The LA Kings, coached by Darryl Sutter, were up 3-0 in the series, and playing game 4 at home. Los Angeles had won the first 2 games in overtime 2-1 in New jersey and won game 3 4-0 in LA to take the commanding lead.  The Stanley Cup was in the building and the champagne was on ice. Kings fans were eager to celebrate the first Stanley Cup in the 45 year history of the franchise. However, they all knew the Devils, coached by Peter DeBoer, wouldn’t roll over and just give them the Cup.

The game was scoreless until midway through the third period. Patrik Elias scored 8 minutes into the third to give the Devils their first lead of the series. LA defenseman Drew Doughty scored a power play goal a minute later to tie it up. Adam Henrique scored for the Devils with just under 5 minutes to play. Ilya Kovalchuk added an empty netter for the Devils to give them a 3-1 win.

The Devils outshot the Kings 24-22 in game 4. The Kings were 1-4 on the power play and New Jersey was 0-4. New Jersey had 43 hits to LA’s 33. The Devils won the faceoffs 34-29.

Both goalies made some spectacular saves in game 4. The Devils’ Martin Brodeur made 21 saves on 22 shots, and the Kings’ Jonathan Quick made 21 saves on 23 shots. Quick will likely win the Conn Smythe award, given to the Playoff MVP if and when the Kings win the Cup.

Now the series shifts back to Newark for game 5. Both teams have reason to be confident. The Kings have won an NHL record 12 straight road playoff games dating back to last year, including 10-0 to start this postseason. The Kings are also the first team in NHL history to take 3-0 series leads in all four rounds of the playoffs. LA swept the St. Louis Blues in the second round, and lost game 4 at home to Vancouver in the first round, and to Phoenix in the Western Conference Finals. Against both the Canucks and Coyotes, LA won game 5 on the road to close out the series. They hope to do the same thing to New Jersey.

For the Devils, they know that they dominated for stretches in the first two games, and if not for some lucky bounces for the Kings, they could be in control of this series. New Jersey has faced adversity in these playoffs in all three series. The Devils were down 3-2 against the Florida Panthers in the first round, and had to win 2 straight games, including game 7 on the road. They lost the first game to the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round before winning 4 straight games. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Devils were down 2-1 against the New York Rangers, before winning 3 straight games.

The Kings are 4-1 in the last 5 games in New Jersey. The road team is also 4-1 in this series recently. The under is 8-0-1 in the last 9 in this series, including 4-0-1 in New Jersey.

LA is 7-0 as a playoff favorite of -150 or less, 4-0 as a road favorite, 6-1 as a road favorite of -150 or less, 5-1 after scoring 2 goals or less, 15-3 in road games against teams with winning home records, 9-2 as a playoff favorite, 20-6 as a favorite, 16-5 on the road, 24-8 overall, 20-7 against teams with winning records, 21-8 as a favorite of -150 or less, and 7-3 on two days rest.

New Jersey 19-9 overall, including 10-4 at home, and 1-5 after allowing 2 goals or less in the previous game.

The Devils played with a greater sense of urgency in game 4, understandable considering they had to win or their season was over. I think the Kings were a little complacent, and will play better in game 5. Having already won 10 straight road playoff games this, the Kings will not be intimidated by the hostile New Jersey crowd. The Kings win a close game, perhaps even in overtime again, to claim their first Stanley Cup.

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