Lack of offense dooms Devils againby Dave Lozo
LOS ANGELES -- Every team enters the season with one goal -- win the Stanley Cup. The New Jersey Devils are finding it nearly impossible to achieve that goal when they only have two in three games.
Jonathan Quick made 22 saves -- very few of a difficult nature -- as the Kings rolled to a 4-0 victory in Game 3 of the series to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Through 201 minutes, 55 seconds, the Devils have two goals on 72 shots, with one bouncing into the net off Kings defenseman Slava Voynov in Game 1 after Quick made the initial save.
"I think that's pretty obvious," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "Of course, we need more goals.
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"You have to give their goalie and their team some credit," DeBoer continued. "You know, he's made some saves. We put up the same number of chances against Philly, the Rangers, we're getting some goals. We're not this series. That's a credit to them. It's not that our guys aren't trying or not doing enough. They're shutting the door. We've got to find a way."
The Devils had a terrific chance to jump in front for the first time of this series early in the second period. Forward David Clarkson made a nice move at the blue line and found himself all alone along the right wing with Quick. Clarkson fired a shot to the stick side, but Quick turned it away with his blocker.
Thirty seconds later, Alec Martinez put the Kings ahead for good with his first goal of the postseason.
"He's a good goalie," Clarkson said. "I don't know if it's me not bearing down there, but it's tough when they go the other way and it goes in. We just have to find a way to get to him. Get in front of him and get the puck to the net."
The power play has been a black hole for the Devils in this series, but New Jersey had a 5-on-3 opportunity for a full minute late in the first period after the Kings' Jeff Carter clipped Adam Henrique with a high stick with Mike Richards already in the penalty box for elbowing Zach Parise.
Ilya Kovalchuk unleashed a missile of a one-timer from the left circle that Quick stopped with his left pad, then Parise had what looked like a surefire goal with a tap-in from the slot, but Quick made the save and steered the rebound into the corner.
The Devils came up empty on the 5-on-3; for the night, they failed to score on six power-play chances and generated only three shots while playing with at least one extra skater for 9:01. For the series, the Devils are 0-for-12 on the power play.
"They outworked us for pucks tonight," Parise said of the power play's failures. "That was the difference."
Added goaltender Martin Brodeur: "It's one of the turning points of the game. I think when you have opportunities, especially against a team you're looking to break, you need to try to make them pay. We didn't do that."
Very rarely was Quick required to turn aside a dangerous chance or fight through a screen -- and when he lost sight of a rebound, he still found a way to make a save. Devils forward Stephen Gionta wheeled out of the corner and fired a shot that Quick stopped with his glove, but the puck landed to his right while he looked for the rebound to his left. Ryan Carter was there for the backhand attempt, but the shot hit Quick's blocker for a no-look save.
The Devils said they aren't frustrated by their inability to solve Quick and that getting the first goal for the first time in this series could turn the tide.
"Anything's possible," defenseman Bryce Salvador said. "We know the situation we're in. It's a big task ahead of us. But I think when the dam brakes, we need to break that dam quicker than what's happening thus far. We have to come out strong and we have to make sure we bury a couple."
"They're trying really hard," Brodeur said. "I think we've played some really good hockey, but we can't find a way to score goals. That's a tough way to go about games because you need goals to win. It's unfortunate, but everybody's trying really hard and I'm really proud of these guys. We're not going to quit."
Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo