The Los Angeles Kings need one more win to hoist their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. The have needed one more win since Wednesday, June 6th.
New Jersey has rallied in the last two games, including ending the Kings' road dominance so far this postseason. Until Game 5, the Kings had not lost a single game on the road. Saturday's game ended that streak as the Devils defeated the Kings 2-1. LA put up one of their lowest shot totals this postseason in the game.
In the last two games of the series, the Kings have looked a little flat. They have allowed a combined total of five goals and only scored twice. The Kings' forecheck that had dominated in the earlier rounds simply couldn't get the job done, having just over 40 shots on net during Games 4 and 5.
Martin Brodeur has been on the top of his game, as have the Devils' defensemen.
It may be fatigue that is slowing the Kings down. Although they have played less games than the Devils, the Kings' road trips have been longer.
New Jersey's farthest series was in the first round against the Florida Panthers. Their next two opponents were much closer as they faced Philly and only had to cross the Hudson River into Manhattan to face the Rangers.
The Kings had to travel to Vancouver, St. Louis and Phoenix, all of which were a greater distance than the Devils have had to travel.
All the air travel back and forth seems to have taken it's toll on the Kings in the last two games. As both their offense and defense have not been the dominant forces that they were in earlier rounds.
If the Devils can utilize the fatigue that the Kings seem to be experiencing to their advantage, they will join a small group of teams to have come back from a 3-0 deficit.
While the odds of that happening are slim, the Devils have not seemed ready to lie down, forcing the Kings to up their game if they want their first cup.
Tonight the Kings will have home-ice advantage, which could be the deciding factor in a Kings victory. A point to take note of, though, is that with the exception of their series with St. Louis, the Kings have split their home games in the playoffs.
Tonight's game will be the first time the Kings have been pushed to a Game 6 this postseason. Three of the Devils' series have gone to Game 6's.
If the Kings are going to win their first Stanley Cup tonight, they will need to push past the fatigue and utilize their home-ice advantage.