SCF Game 2 Recap: Another night, another OT loss

2012 Stanley Cup Finals, New Jersey Devils vs LA Kings

Jeff Carter’s goal 13:42 into overtime in Game 2 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals was the second overtime win of the series for the Kings, and third straight overtime win overall, dating back to the Western Conference Finals.  That puts the Devils in a 2-0 series hole, with the series shifting to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4.  It’s a deep hole to be in, but it isn’t over yet.

The Devils tried to dictate the pace of the game more than they did in Game 1 on Wednesday.  They got more scoring chances, and tested Jonathan Quick more than they did in the first period, but it was Los Angeles who scored first again.  Drew Doughty skated through half the Devils’ team, it seemed, before wristing a shot past Martin Brodeur, as Brodeur was screened by Bryce Salvador and never saw the shot.  Despite trailing for the remainder of the first period and all of the second, the Devils continued to battle and push for the tying goal.  Although Quick was strong, stopping 32 of 33 shots thrown at him, the Devils continued to miss opportunities and fail to finish off their scoring chances.

They did manage to tie the game early in the third period, as Marek Zidlicky’s point shot was re-directed past Quick by Ryan Carter.  They outplayed the Kings for much of the third period, but failed to get a second puck past Quick for the second straight game.  Late in the third period, a weak penalty was called on Dainius Zubrus, and it looked as if the Kings would have a chance to win the game late in the third, but Drew Doughty hooked Zach Parise on a shorthanded bid, so the power play was nullified.  Ilya Kovalchuk stepped into a shot that deflected off Anze Kopitar’s stick on the backcheck and hit the crossbar over Quick in the final seconds of the third period.

After the Devils controlled play for most of the first and third periods, the Kings took over in the extra period.  The Devils couldn’t stop the Kings’ attack, and while Brodeur was very strong, especially with his glove, he couldn’t make the final save, on a hard shot by Jeff Carter through a screen.  No Devils skater could block the shot, and just like that, the Devils trail a series by two games for the first time this postseason.

The Devils now face an uphill battle, as they’ll need to win two games in Los Angeles to bring the series back to New Jersey tied, 2-2.  It can be done, though.  Pittsburgh and Boston, the 2009 and 2011 Stanley Cup Champions, respectively, each trailed their Cup Finals series 2-0.  The challenge for the Devils is that the Kings are 10-0 on the road in the playoffs, but every streak has to end eventually.  This will be their greatest obstacle of the playoffs thus far, in a playoff season full of obstacles, but the Devils have proved that they are resilient.  Another reason to be optimistic is that even though they didn’t have their best game in Game 1 and played better in Game 2, both games went to overtime and one lucky bounce either way and the Devils could be leading the series 2-0.

The Devils also lost back-to-back playoff games in Games 2 and 3 against Florida.  They won three of the next four games to win the series.  They also won four straight against the Flyers and the last three games of the Rangers series.  They also solved Henrik Lundqvist after getting shut out in two of the first three games of the Eastern Conference Finals.  The Devils were one of the league’s best road teams in the regular season, and are 6-4 on the road in these playoffs.  They’ll need to win at least one more road game to host a Game 5 and two road games to tie the series.  If they keep pushing and are able to score the first goal of Game 3, they can get back in the series.  After all, nothing has come easy for them this season to this point.

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Posted on June 3, 2012, in Game Recap, New Jersey Devils and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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