It was a hotly contested affair throughout that was a real treat to watch, as the level of intensity from both squads was palpable from the start.
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty drew first blood at the 7:49 mark of the first period. He weaved his way through at least four Devils defenders and hit the unassisted goal to put the Kings up 1-0.
The action was fast and furious from then on, though there was no scoring for more than a period.
Who wins Game 3 in LA?
Then, the Devils came to life in the third period when center Ryan Carter scored on a brilliant tip-in that was assisted by Marek Zidlicky and Steve Bernier.
The goal—which skipped over Jonathan Quick's leg at the last second like a short-hop in baseball—was the first third-period goal allowed by him in eight games, according to ESPN Stats and Info, via Twitter:
This is the 1st third-period goal allowed by the Kings' Jonathan Quick since Game 3 of the conf semifinals vs St. Louis— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 3, 2012
From that point on, both teams went at one another with extra fervor until the final buzzer, but in the end three periods wasn't enough. This game was destined to go into overtime, just like Game 1.
The Kings controlled the action on the ice during the first few minutes of overtime, but Brodeur's defense was like a brick wall. He repelled the invaders time and time again. The Devils came back with volleys of their own, but both goalkeepers played their hearts out and kept the game alive.
Jeff Carter finally ended the game and broke down Brodeur's wall with a spectacular goal to put the Kings up two games to none.
Tweets of the Night
Huffington Post's Craig Kanalley summed up the feeling I had the entire third period and through overtime:
Eric Orozco summed up the epic nature of this game:
Rick Martinez said what everyone who isn't a Devils fan is thinking right now:
Must-See Highlight of the Night
Drew Doughty took the puck and the game into his own hands at the 7:49 mark of the first period. He made his way around and through at least four if not five Devils players to make the game's one and only goal—an unassisted one, at that.
Grades for Key Kings Players
Jonathan Quick: A
Quick was his typical brilliant self tonight, though as I mentioned previously the third-period goal against him was the first one he had allowed in the third period in eight games.
Still, Quick was able to stop 32 out of 33 goals. He continues to show why the Kings can't be beaten in a seven-game series—he's unstoppable.
Dustin Brown: C
Brown was extremely active on the ice, but his efforts amounted to zeros across the stat line. He didn't contribute to the offense at all, and his give-away in the third period is what allowed the Devils to score the tying goal.
Grades for Key Devils Players
Martin Brodeur: A-
Brodeur had a fantastic night, stopping 30 shots and only allowing 32. He made multiple saves that could have easily gone in for the Kings, but his luck and skill held for most of the game.
It wasn't until the overtime period that he finally broke down, though he played like a champion the entire way.
Ilya Kovalchuck: C+
Kovalchuck was mostly a non-factor in this contest. He only took one shot on goal the entire game—a stat that is all the more poignant considering that the Devils took 33 shots total.
Deciding Factor: Jeff Carter's Overtime Goal
In overtime, Carter showed he still had enough energy to go around the net and make a brilliant goal to end the game. He was assisted by Dustin Penner and Alec Martinez on the play.
What a finish, and Carter's goal is the deciding factor.
Game MVP: Drew Doughty
This could easily go to Quick, but Doughty was spectacular in this game, hitting the first goal of the game and making plays on defense all game long.
He set the tone for the Kings in the first quarter with a couple of monster hits on the boards, and his 32-minute effort included a multitude of excellent plays on the defensive side of things.
The teams now head to the West Coast to play the next two games at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, where the Kings will look to sweep the Devils.