Stanley Cup Playoffs 2012: Kings Will Clinch Title in Tough Road Environment
The Los Angeles Kings are ready to win the franchise's first Stanley Cup. They will do so by beating the New Jersey Devils in a hostile environment in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final—something that has become second nature for this band of road warriors.
So far in this postseason, the Kings have tied an NHL record by winning 10 road games, according to the Los Angeles Times, four of which they won in overtime. They will break the record tonight by winning their 11th-straight road game.
The Kings have outworked, out-hustled, out-played and outhit every team they've faced on their historic run. The tough environment they face on the road seems to have little-to-no impact on them at all, unless you count the way it has galvanized their faith in one another to perform in difficult circumstances.
There is no doubting the fact that the Devils are a fantastic team, led by Martin Brodeur, who will be a sure-fire Hall of Famer when he finally decides to retire. Though he's lost three games to the Kings so far, he has kept his team in the series by making fantastic save after fantastic save under the most stressful circumstances in professional hockey.
Unfortunately for him and his teammates, the Kings feature the hottest goalkeeper I've seen in ages, Jonathan Quick.
Quick has pulled off feats of greatness in the playoffs that make me wonder whether or not he is a demigod. He's posted a 15-3 record throughout the playoffs by stopping almost 95 percent of the shots that teams have sent his way on his way. He is allowing a mere 1.39 goals per game, including three shutouts, according to hockey-reference.com.
Those numbers are unbeatable, and Quick has given his team the confidence they need to overcome any adversity. Speaking of confidence, Kings forward Justin Williams talked about it, via the Los Angeles Times:
Will the Kings clinch the series tonight vs. the Devils in New Jersey?
You avoid doubt by confidence. You have to exude it. And we have it in this dressing room. We're a very confident team that knows that we haven't played our best hockey yet.
Now, in saying that, it's disappointing that we haven't played great yet. We need to get there. But at the same time it's encouraging that we're up 3-1.
That doesn't sound like a team that is satisfied with their performance. It's obvious that they have the right attitude to keep their edge until the final buzzer of the final game.
They won't stop now. Not after coming so far. The Kings will clinch the series and take home their first Stanley Cup tonight on the Devils' home ice.
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