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|Kings brimming with confidence|
|Written by Denis Gorman|
|Monday, 04 June 2012 01:19|
The Los Angeles Kings head home for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final with a two-game lead and a whole lot of confidence thanks to dynamic play from their best players and solid goaltending from Jonathan Quick.Darryl Sutter was in the Prudential Center press conference room gushing about the individual acts of athletic genius authored by Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter 15 minutes after the Los Angeles Kings took a two games to none series lead over the New Jersey Devils.
Well, as much as a Sutter gushes.
“Good to see him score, right? So good to see him score,” Sutter said of Carter’s game-winning goal in the Kings’ 2-1 overtime win Saturday night.
Los Angeles’ wins at the Prudential Center in Games One and Two were 2-1 overtime triumphs.
Sutter then praised Doughty’s Scott Niedermayer-esque spectacular end-to-end rush that put the Kings up 1-0 midway through the first period.
“[Drew] made a great play. A 200-foot play, right? One of those coast-to-coast things,” Sutter said. “You'll look at [the highlight a] lot of times. Win or lose, that's a great play.”
Since the Kings have made great plays in the first two games, they have a stranglehold on the 2012 Stanley Cup Final entering Monday night’s Game 3 at the Staples Center. The credit is due to the Kings’ best players outplaying the Devils’ stars.
Doughty, Carter, Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, and Dustin Brown have three goals, four points and a plus-five rating in the first two games. The quintet was also credited with 48 shots attempts and 21 hits.
Simply the Kings’ core players were dynamic in Games 1 and 2 and that meant Jonathan Quick merely had to be good.
Quick, the Conn Smythe front-runner, faced 50 shots in the first two game and made 48 saves, very few of which could be categorized as difficult. Anton Volchenkov in Game One and Ryan Carter in Game Two were the only Devils to solve Quick.
He has a 14-2 record with a 1.44 goals against average and a .947 save percentage in the playoffs.
“I think the impression would be the same as anybody that follows the game,” Sutter said when asked about what he has learned about his core players during Friday afternoon’s media availability. “You know they're skilled and you know they're really character guys that work hard. So it really hasn't changed. I think I knew that going in, and it's pretty much the same. I wasn't wrong.”
While the Kings are brimming with confidence seemingly with every shift, the Devils have been forced to go back to basics. Getting the puck deep into the offensive zone and forechecking was their theme in the days following the Game One loss.
They lived up to their words and generated 33 shots and 67 shot attempts Saturday night. But the majority of New Jersey’s attempts in Game 2 were either from the periphery or unaided by traffic in front of Quick.
Neither is a successful formula for goal scoring. Yet the Devils attempted to apply that principle to their traditional modus operandi. Following the loss, all that was left to do was offering platitudes.
“We had our chances,” lamented Adam Henrique.
“We all need to do a better job of creating offense,” offered Zach Parise.
“We just have to regroup and get ready for Game 3. We just need to come ready to play in Game 3 and play desperate,” Stephen Gionta said. “I think we need to keep getting traffic to the net, keep getting pucks to the net, and hopefully the bounces will go our way.”
You can follow us on Twitter @HockeyPrimeTime and @DenisGorman.