Game 6 goes Monday at 8:00 p.m. ET at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. With the Kings up 3-2, they will have yet another opportunity to hoist the cup, while the Devils will look to force a seventh and deciding game.
Game 5 was the first road loss of the playoffs for the Kings, who are now 10-1 away from the Staples Center. It was also the first time in the 2012 playoffs that the Kings have lost back-to-back games.
With that in mind, it still isn’t time to push the panic button.
While the Kings haven’t come up with their best performances in the last two games, they certainly haven’t played all that badly.
It may be cliché, but hockey is a game of bounces and inches. One mistake by Quick and a few scoring opportunities that struck iron proved to be the difference as the Kings lost Game 5, despite having sustained pressure in the Devils' zone. In fact, the Kings outshot the Devils 26-19, but Brodeur had the answer time and time again.
If the Kings had gone up 3-0 in the series by blowing out the Devils, then there would be reason to question their two-game slide. However, like the last two games, Games 1 and 2 of the series were close, with the Kings winning both games 2-1 in overtime.
The Devils are a formidable opponent, and no one should have expected them to roll over after going down 3-0. Even though the Kings have been dominant in the playoffs, it’s still a tough task to win the Stanley Cup in less than six games. Eight of the last 10 finals series have been decided in six or seven games.
There is no reason the Kings can’t prevail on Monday and take the cup for the first time in team history.
Nothing has changed for the Kings in the series, besides improving their lineup by adding Simon Gagne. They have played consistently defensively, allowing more than two goals only once, on an empty-net marker by Kovalchuk in Game 4.
Their forwards need to continue to get pucks to the net and screen Brodeur. If they're able to get bodies in front of the net and create chances off rebounds, they're more likely to be successful, as they were in Game 3.
The Kings still hold the advantage heading home. A 3-2 series lead in the final is a good spot to be in, regardless of how you got there. There is no reason for fans to worry, until their team is facing elimination.
Which is why, if the Kings lose Game 6, it might be time to sound the alarms. One has to assume that future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur would stand on his head at home in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Expect the Kings to come out strong in Game 6, score the first goal and win Lord Stanley's Cup for the first time.