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Kings try again to close out Devils

by John Kreiser


(Los Angeles leads best-of-seven series, 3-2)


Big Story: For the third time, the Kings will try to get the elusive fourth victory that will give them the first Stanley Cup championship in the franchise's 45-year history. The Devils are trying to become just the third team in NHL history to push the Final to a seventh game after losing the first three.

Team Scope:

Devils: New Jersey refuses to go away. The Devils sent everyone back to Southern California with a 2-1 victory on Saturday night after extending the series with a 3-1 win at L.A. in Game 4. The one constant in the two games was exceptional goaltending by Martin Brodeur, who outplayed L.A.'s Jonathan Quick in both games. He was superb - and a little lucky -- in Game 5, making 25 saves and having three other shots hit posts or crossbars.

"His performance speaks for itself," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "It's the timing of it. You know, I think the fact we're 9-1 or 10-1 in Games 4 through 7 in a series is a testament to how he enjoys that type of pressure."

Kings: Back-to-back losses have done nothing to diminish the confidence of the Kings, who won 15 of their first 17 playoff games before dropping Games 4 and 5 and seeing a 10-0 record on the road this spring spoiled on Saturday.

"I think we just have confidence in ourselves," defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "Most of the season was kind of a struggle for us, large parts of it at least, but I think, in the end, everyone thought that we had the answer in this room. I don't think this situation is any different. We have to feel the same way."

Who's Hot: Brodeur has allowed just one goal in each of the last two games. The win on Saturday was his 17th in the Stanley Cup Final, tying him with Billy Smith for fifth place on the all-time list. … New Jersey's Bryce Salvador scored the game-winner on Saturday and has 14 points this spring, tying him with L.A.'s Drew Doughty for the most among defensemen this spring. He had just nine points (all assists) in 82 regular-season games.

Injury Report: Both teams are as healthy as they can be after 100+ games.

Stat Pack: Saturday's game was the 50th this spring to be decided by one goal. The record for a single playoff year is 51, set in 2007. … New Jersey is 4-8 in Games 1-3 of the playoffs this spring -- but 10-1 in Games 4-7. … The team that has scored first has won all five games.

Puck Drop: After polishing off their first three opponents in just two games more than the minimum and looking unbeatable in the first three games of the Final, the Kings have hit their first rough patch this spring. But as they prepare for Game 6, they realize they're still just one win away from the ultimate prize - the one that has eluded the franchise since L.A. entered the League in 1967.

"We've been lucky in the playoffs, keeping series (to) low games," defenseman Matt Greene said. "You're going to lose two games in a row. That's why you work hard to win three. That's it. Right now, we've got the advantage going home. We've got to look at it like that and get our game going."

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