Stanley Cup Finals 2012: Special Teams Lead the Way for 3-0 Kings Series Lead

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Stanley Cup Finals 2012: Special Teams Lead the Way for 3-0 Kings Series Lead
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The Los Angeles Kings scored two power play goals and killed off all five power plays against en route to a 4-0 thumping of the New Jersey Devils Monday night at the Staples Center.

The penalty kill in particular was in impressive form on Monday, laying a foundation of frustration for the Devils that would last all evening. The Kings had to get themselves out of a jam early on, dealing with a two-man disadvantage, with Jeff Carter serving a double minor high stick and a Mike Richards an elbowing minor.

Kings head coach Darryl Sutter leaned on veterans Jarret Stoll, Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene to get the job done. Bleacher Report was there when Coach Sutter had this to say about his wily vets:

Well, they're a huge part of our penalty killing and they're the veteran guys in the back end. They give us that stability. You know what you're getting all the time.

Coming to the Kings' rescue along with the likes of Stoll and Mitchell was goaltender Jonathan Quick.

Quick turned aside several chances early on with New Jersey at even strength and on the power play. Coach Peter DeBoer couldn't help but agree that Quick was a difference maker early on,

Yeah, I mean, sure. We need to get the first goal out, absolutely. We had some power play opportunities there. We need to score one. Credit to them. You know, their goalie made some big saves early. We couldn't get one.

And that has been the story of the New Jersey Devils these playoffs. With momentum and constant pressure from the forecheck, the Devils can never quite get one. This type of frustration has been a common enemy of the Kings' postseason opponents. And again, Coach Peter DeBoer could do nothing but agree.

Elsa/Getty Images

We created some real good chances early. He made some saves. The frustrating part is you're creating some quality chances, you're getting some quality shots, and they're not going in. Again, you have to handle that frustration the right way.

To be fair to DeBoer and the Devils though, no one has figured out how to handle that frustration the right way. For that reason the Kings need just one more win to cap off a historic playoff run—a playoff run that has the team standing on the brink of its first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

On the more refreshing side of things, the Kings' power play chipped in for two goals from Jeff Carter and Justin Williams. These were the first power play goals the team has scored since Game 2 of the Phoenix series when Jeff Carter scored two en route to a hat trick.

The Kings were a staggering 6-for-76 before Monday's game. However, as Sutter has preached in the past, it's not about how many you score, it's when you score them. 

That being said, the Kings' power play may have come up with two of its biggest goals of the postseason.

Do you think Kings alternate captain Anze Kopitar and the team are excited about the position they are in?

Yeah, we're a confident group right now. As we all know, the fourth one is the toughest one. We can enjoy it tonight and get back to work tomorrow, refocus, recharge.  We want to make sure we're ready for the start on Wednesday, try to get another win.

And Wednesday they will have that chance to get another win. Except this time, it may be the last win the team needs to become a part of history.

 

Jason Lewis is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, reporting live from Staples Center. The interviews seen here were obtained first-hand. Follow Jason on twitter @SirJDL for up-to-the-minute news on the L.A. Kings and the Stanley Cup Finals.

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