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The Key Three: June 2

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings

Three key aspects of the Kings’ 2-1 overtime victory over the New Jersey Devils...


After three periods, it seemed clear that the game, in large part, was being played in the New Jersey Devils’ comfort zone. The Kings had their moments in regulation, but that’s pretty much all they were: moments. The Kings rarely controlled the game for more than a few shifts at a time before the Devils pushed back and reestablished themselves. Overtime, though, seemed to be a different story. The Devils had a couple threatening chances, but the Kings looked sharper from the opening faceoff. The Kings outshot the Devils 11-3 in the 13-plus minutes of overtime, and of course, Jeff Carter saved the best shot for last, as he beat Martin Brodeur to win the game.


Just as in Game 1, the Kings weren’t always at their best in Game 2, but they were able to play the entire game without trailing. That’s a big mental boost, and last night, the Kings were able to play with that mindset because of Drew Doughty. Even if Doughty hadn’t scored a did-you-see-that goal in the first period, he would have been credited with a good game, but Doughty did something very special less than eight minutes into the first period, when he carried the puck from end to end and beat Martin Brodeur with a wrist shot, after he dragged the puck a bit to change the angle. Doughty has played better under Darryl Sutter. Now he’s playing his best.


Perhaps it happened too early in the game to call it a ``momentum-turner,’’ but the penalty that the Kings killed less than five minutes into the first period certainly seemed to change the tone of the game, at least temporarily. In the opening minutes, the Devils were forechecking like mad, and had the Kings running around a bit in their own zone. Trouble loomed when Matt Greene took a cross-checking penalty at the 2:54 mark, but the Kings calmly killed the penalty and started to play better overall. The Devils, for the game, had 6 minutes, 51 seconds, of power-play time but recorded only three shots on goal. Penalty-kill success is nothing new for the Kings.

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