Three-goal power-play explosion turns tide of Game 6
LOS ANGELES -- Justin Williams called it a season-changing momentum swing. It's hard to dispute his point.
When the Los Angeles Kings were awarded a five-minute power play in the first period of Game 6 Monday night -- one that would both erase any doubts they might have had after back-to-back losses and to stop the Devils hopeful march toward history dead in its tracks -- all they were thinking about was making it matter.
"You're thinking you better score," Williams said, "because if you don't score you know the tide is going to turn."
The Kings scored three times before Devils forward Petr Sykora, who was in the penalty box serving Steve Bernier's major for boarding Rob Scuderi, was set free. There were still more than 44 minutes to play, but with Jonathan Quick in net and the Kings holding the 3-0 lead, plans for the Stanley Cup coronation at Staples Center were already in motion.
Those plans came to fruition after L.A. finished off its 6-1 Cup-clinching victory.
"Our power play chose the perfect time to contribute and we got three goals there," forward Dustin Penner told NHL.com. "With Quickie in net, I'm pretty sure some people changed the channel after that."
Bernier was assessed the major for boarding and a game misconduct after hitting Scuderi from behind into the end boards behind the Kings' net. Scuderi's face connected with the glass and he suffered cuts to his face.
Devils coach Peter DeBoer vehemently disagreed with the call for a major and game misconduct, but he held his anger in check following the game.
"You know, tonight is about L.A. and letting them celebrate," DeBoer said. "If you want to ask me about that in about a week, I'll give you my honest opinion on it."
Regardless of what DeBoer thought when the whistle blew or what he says in a week, the Kings made the Devils pay with three power-play goals in a span of 3:58. They had only nine power-play goals in their previous 86 chances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Dustin Brown started the barrage less than a minute into the power play when he deflected Drew Doughty's shot through Martin Brodeur's five-hole.
Brown started the play on the right side by feeding the puck up to Anze Kopitar at the right point. Kopitar fed it across the blue line to Mike Richards, who quickly tapped the puck down to Doughty in the left circle. Doughty patiently waited for Brown to move into position before he wristed his shot past Anton Volchenkov and right onto Brown's tape for the deflection.
At that point, the Kings were only thinking about getting another one.
"You've gotta have that instinct, that killer instinct to get a team and put them down," Williams said.
Brown was originally given credit for the Kings' second goal, scored 2:35 into the power play, but it was later changed to Jeff Carter because he got a piece of Brown's shot from between the hash marks to deflect it high over Brodeur's glove.
Alec Martinez started the play with a dump-and-chase play in the left corner. Martinez won the race and Richards got the puck. He gave it to Brown, who curled into the middle and had room to shoot. Carter was near the right post for the deflection.
"I looked at Quickie and I felt that he wasn't going to let more than one in, so we know we needed the second one," Penner said. "When you get two, you get greedy because you don't want that stress of being up only a goal or going into overtime."
In this case, greed was good. Trevor Lewis made it 3-0 with just nine seconds left on the power play.
Dwight King rushed the puck down the left side and got it to the net. Brodeur attempted a poke check, but whiffed on it and the puck stayed in the blue paint. Lewis was able to get his stick around Andy Greene to backhand it in.
"Our power play hasn't been great by any means, but we scored some timely and big goals," Kopitar said. "That's what you want."
Shortly after the power play was finished, the fans at Staples Center started chanting "We want the Cup."