Because the longest road winning streak in Stanley Cup history is over, the Los Angeles Kings will have to try again on Monday to win their first championship.
The Kings brought a 10-0 record on the road this spring and a 12-0 mark during the past two seasons into the Prudential Center on Saturday night. They left with both streaks ended after a 2-1 loss that cut their lead in the series to 3-2 and sent everyone heading back to the West Coast for Game 6 on Monday night (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).
The Kings didn't make history because they couldn't defy it -- none of the three teams that won the first three games of the Final and lost Game 4 at home have won Game 5. That scenario hadn't happened since 1945, when Toronto won the first three games only to lose Games 4, 5 -- and 6 -- before winning Game 7 on the road. In the other, Detroit won the first three games in 1942, only to see the Leafs win the next four.
L.A.'s road streak this spring was remarkable. They outscored opponents 34-15 in the 10 games and allowed just two power-play goals against in 47 opportunities.
Counting their victories at San Jose in Games 2 and 5 last spring, the Kings hadn't lost a playoff game away from Staples Center since a 3-2 overtime loss to the Sharks in the opener of their first-round series last spring. The last time they had lost in regulation was a 7-3 defeat to Vancouver in Game 5 in 2010.
Considering their playoff history, the Kings might have been the most unlikely team ever to run off a winning streak like this one. Before this spring, the Kings were 29-66 all-time on the road in the playoffs (including the two wins last spring), and they had never won more than two straight postseason games away from home.
Streak-busters -- Not only did the Devils snap L.A.'s road winning streaks, they ended a losing streak of their own. New Jersey had lost five consecutive Game 5s when trailing 3-1 in a series. Martin Brodeur, who extended his record of consecutive playoff starts to 193, also avoided a third straight home loss in the playoffs -- something that's happened only once in his illustrious career, in 2008 against the Rangers.
The Devils also found a way to end their power-play drought. Zach Parise's first-period PPG was New Jersey's first in 16 tries in the Final. It was just the sixth allowed by Los Angeles all spring. The Devils are now 9-for-40 (22.5 percent) at home; the bad news is that they're just 4-for-43 (9.3 percent) on the road.
Good numbers for Kings in Game 6 -- Though all three of their postseason losses before Saturday came at home, the Kings have had great success in winning Game 6s in Los Angeles.
The Kings are 11-6 all-time in Game 6, but are 9-3 in the 12 they've played in Los Angeles. New Jersey is 13-12 all-time in Game 6, but 5-6 on the road. The Devils have won both Game 6s they've played this spring, beating Florida and the New York Rangers at the Prudential Center.
Game 5 snippets -- The Kings didn't lose Game 5 because of a lack of putting pucks at the net. They outshot New Jersey 26-19 -- and a better indication of the fact that they controlled play for much of the night is that they attempted 60 shots to just 39 for the Devils. New Jersey did a great job taking away the shooting lanes -- the Devils blocked 20 shots, including four by Anton Volchenkov and three each by Andy Greene, Marek Zidlicky, Bryce Salvador and Adam Henrique.
New Jersey also outdid the Kings 28-25 in the faceoff circle, led by a 10-7 performance by Henrique. Stoll, who was 30-15 in the first three games, was under .500 for the second straight game -- he went 9-10 after a 6-10 showing in Game 4.
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