Three key aspects of the Kings’ 6-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils...
1. POWER PLAY COMES THROUGH
Isn’t it amazing how things can come full circle? Last April, in Game 6 of the first round against San Jose, the Kings had a five-minute power play late in the third period of a tie game. They didn’t score, and the Sharks scored in overtime to clinch the series. Last night, in another Game 6 -- albeit one with much higher stakes -- the Kings got a five-minute power play in the first period of a scoreless game. They scored three goals. Only twice, in 82 games this season, did the Kings score three power-play goals in a game. After two deflections and a hard-work rebound goal, the Kings had a 3-0 lead and had put themselves in position to win the Stanley Cup. Who would have guessed?
2. CAPTAIN LEADS THE WAY
What was wrong with Dustin Brown? Nothing that the smell of the Stanley Cup couldn’t cure, apparently. As Brown’s production, which had been other-worldly in the first three rounds of the playoffs, tapered off in the Stanley Cup Finals, questions popped up. Was Brown hurt? Was the moment too big for him? Turns out, Brown saved his biggest performance for the biggest game. The goals will be replayed forever -- Brown’s deflection and his shot that went in off Jeff Carter -- but don’t ever forget Brown delivering a big hit along the boards or reaching, while parked on his rear end, to knock the puck out of the Kings’ zone and into safety. Afterward, he had quite the toothless grin.
3. BIG LEAD, GREAT POISE
Speaking of full circle, and last season against San Jose, some fans might have felt slightly ill at ease last night when the Kings took a 4-0 lead early in the second period. Of course, it was just last year, in Game 3 against San Jose, when the Kings took a 4-0 lead early in the second period, only to lose 6-5 in overtime. But, as has long since been proven, these are not last year’s Kings, or any year’s Kings, for that matter. When Jeff Carter scored to put the Kings up four goals last night, they continued playing great hockey. They didn’t sit back in a defensive shell, but they played a smart game with a ton of poise. Every player, starting with Jonathan Quick, looked equal to the task.