LOS ANGELES -- Martin Brodeur didn't lose his cool Monday night after Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final the way he did on the ice after the controversial goal by Alec Martinez opened the scoring at Staples Center, but his message was equally forceful.
Dwight King jammed it free for what turned out to be the winning goal by Martinez in a 4-0 victory that gave Los Angeles a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
"I had the puck," Brodeur said. "I covered it with my stick and the guy just pushed me. The ref was in a tough spot to make the call. I think he was in the wrong position, so it's tough for him to make the call. I think they maybe should've asked the other referee to see what they saw before making the call, but it is what it is, what are you going to do?"
A little more than five minutes into the second period, the game was scoreless and the Devils were controlling the territorial play more than they had during the first two games of the series. But King was able to slip to the slot area and take a pass from Trevor Lewis. Brodeur made two point-blank stops on King, and that's when the chaos in the crease began.
King continued to whack at the puck with Brodeur dropping his stick and glove onto it. The 6-foot-3, 234-pound King eventually pushed Brodeur out of the way with his stick, allowing Martinez to swoop in from the point and tap the loose puck home for his first goal of the postseason.
The Kings took over from there and made it 2-0 after two periods when Anze Kopitar finished an odd-man rush for his eighth goal of the postseason.
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"It was huge. We were right there," Brodeur said. "We played well up until that point. We know we can't spot any goals to these guys when they're not allowing anything, so that definitely was a tough one."
Devils coach Peter DeBoer agreed.
"That's a momentum-changing call at the time," the coach said. "I hope he's right. That's an awful big call if you're wrong. I mean, my opinion on it, as soon as you lose sight of the puck, the whistle's supposed to go. Even if you don't get it to your mouth, your intent is to blow it when you lose sight. Should be dead puck, so...
"I'd like to hear an explanation for it. I didn't get that opportunity."
Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador had a front-row seat on the play. Salvador cleared Kings forward Jarret Stoll away from the crease before turning back to the net and shoving King away from Brodeur. It was too late at that point, as an uncovered Martinez put the puck into the vacated net.
Salvador said he couldn't hear a whistle, but thought the play had been blown dead.
"I was on the off-side and King was taking a couple whacks," Salvador said. "I took him out of the play and Martinez must've came behind us. I actually thought they blew it down. It's hard to tell. It's one of those things where I don't know where it was or if he had it in his pad or not, but when I went over there, I thought it was blown down and Martinez came in from behind."
Devils forward David Clarkson moved down the from the high slot and made a diving effort to stop King's initial attempt. He felt that while Brodeur had the puck covered long enough to earn a whistle, the goal wasn't the reason why the Devils will be facing elimination Wednesday night.
"You can't really point fingers at this time of the season," Clarkson said. "The refs have been pretty good all season. I thought it was under his pad and had it for a while and was kind of a dead play. I guess the ref might've had his eye on it or I'm not sure there. That's not the reason that we lose. We have to find a way to get some pucks in the net here."
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