Kings are ready and able to will a win in Game 2
NEWARK, N.J. -- One of his teammates said that Kings forward Jeff Carter simply willed the puck into the net.
Sheer will was what it was going to take on a wild night in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Kings and the New Jersey Devils as overtime turned into a wide-open affair.
The teams spent it trading chance after chance and Carter finally ended the edge-of-the-seat suspense with his goal through traffic 13 minutes 42 seconds into overtime, giving the Kings a 2-1 victory Saturday night at Prudential Center.
Never before have the Kings been closer to the cherished Stanley Cup since the franchise entered the NHL in the 1967-68 season. They took a 2-0 lead in this best-of-seven series with the next two games coming at Staples Center.
They did not get this close in 1993 against Montreal. They won Game 1 but lost the next four.
History has been rewritten by the Kings. They are 4-0 in overtime this postseason and have won 10 games on the road, which ties an NHL record held jointly by New Jersey (1995 and 2000) and Calgary (2004). They have not lost on the road in these playoffs.
“I thought it was a hell of a battle,” said Kings Coach Darryl Sutter, who coached the Flames in that 2004 run to the Final, where they lost in seven games.
Carter’s linemate Dustin Penner thought Carter willed the puck in, beating Martin Brodeur on the stick side with a shot from the slot after circling out in front. And Kings center Jarret Stoll agreed with that assessment.
“I think so. You could tell he wanted to shoot that,” Stoll said. “A couple of our [defensemen] were open. But he was putting that thing in the back of the net.”
The Kings acquired Carter shortly before the trade deadline from Columbus. He had a hat trick against Phoenix in the Western Conference finals, but this goal was on another level.
“I just tried to turn and get it to the net,” Carter said. “I tried to hit Penner back door. It kind of popped out to me . . . I just tried to get out of the way, get it on net.
“I think it’s my first playoff overtime goal. It’s a huge one. It’s a big one for the team.”
Said Stoll: “We knew what to expect. We’ve been in this situation three times before, knew they were going to come out with a good push here at home.”
Said Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick: “That’s why we picked him up. We knew what kind of player he is.”
Again, the Devils could get one goal past Quick and it came on a redirection at 2:59 of the third period from fourth-line forward Ryan Carter, a former Ducks player who was with them when they won the Stanley Cup in 2007.
Quick and the 40-year-old Brodeur may be separated by 14 years and a hat trick of Stanley Cups rings but they were united by a stellar display of skill in Game 2.
The Devils spoke about the constant pressure placed on them by the Kings.
“They jump you at the right time,” said New Jersey captain Zach Parise. “And they make tape-to-tape passes.”
The Devils had a chance to win in the last 20 seconds of regulation when forward Ilya Kovalchuk launched a shot that went off Quick’s shoulder and the crossbar.
For the first time since 1951, the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final went to overtime. In fact, all five games of that series between Montreal and Toronto went to overtime.
Doughty had put the Kings ahead, 1-0, with a stunning solo effort in the first period, scoring at 7:49 after taking the puck from New Jersey’s David Clarkson.
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