Stanley Cup Finals 2012: Despite Trailing, the Devils Can't Be Counted out Yet
Last night, the Los Angeles Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils, 2-1, in overtime, taking the series lead, 2-0. The Kings continued their road dominance; they are now undefeated in 10 road games this postseason.
That is not to say that New Jersey is to be counted out quite yet. It may be the fourth series in which the Kings have taken a 2-0 series lead, but the Devils have been able to keep it close.
In the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Devils have lost by one goal in each game.
More importantly is that New Jersey has pushed the Kings to overtime in both games so far.
Oddly, both were the final games of the respective series.
A large key to the Kings' success has been their forecheck, combined with Vezina-nominated goaltender Jonathan Quick.
The Devils have been able to slow down the forecheck of the Kings; if they can figure out Quick, this series could easily go seven games.
In the first game, the Devils only managed a total of 17 shots on Quick, yet they still managed to tie the Kings, forcing overtime.
New Jersey improved its own forecheck in Game 2, putting up 33 shots in just over 73 minutes of play. It wasn't enough, as the Devils were still unable to get all but one past Quick.
Unlike the previous three series, the Kings were unable to get a strong lead on the Devils in either Games 1 or 2.
In the series against Vancouver, the Kings were held to one goal or less only twice. Those two times were in Game 3, which they won, 1-0, and their 3-1 loss in Game 4.
St. Louis was unable to hold the Kings to less than two goals during the series sweep.
Only once did L.A. score less than two goals against Phoenix. It was their only loss in that series, when Phoenix defeated them, 2-0.
Looking back to New Jersey, the Devils have held them to one goal through regulation in both games so far in the series.
The two teams have a very similar style of play that has led to this series being close.
Backed by future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur and a strong defensive core, the Devils have the pieces necessary to shut down the Kings.
The only changes that are needed are on offense, which has been held to two goals over the two games. The lack of offense in the first game was due mainly to the defensive play of the Kings, while Game 2's paltry output was due to Jonathan Quick.
The Devils just need their offense to figure Quick out to bring them back into this series. As they have proven, they can keep the Kings' forecheck at bay through regulation.
Having taken the Kings to back-to-back overtime games shows that even though the Devils have not yet won a game in this series, you can't count them out.
The Devils may now be the underdogs of this series, but it still looks like this series has the potential to be a great Stanley Cup Finals.
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