June 9, 2012

Road-ruling Kings look to close out Devils in New Jersey

By Jesse Connolly

Rulers of the road in the 2012 playoffs, the Los Angeles Kings will take to the ice in New Jersey on Saturday night, as they look to close out the Devils and capture the Stanley Cup. 

The Kings squandered a chance to complete a sweep on home ice for the third time in the postseason on Wednesday, as the Devils cut L.A.’s series lead to 3-1 with a 3-1 victory. The loss was only the Kings’ third of the entire postseason.

Each of those three losses have come at the Staples Center for the Kings, who are one of four teams to win 10 games on the road during one postseason. The only team that’s done it twice, the Devils (1995, 2001), will be looking to prevent L.A. from setting a new playoff record – and more importantly, from lifting the Cup in their barn.

“We wanted to nail it down (Wednesday),” Kings forward Anze Kopitar said. “Nothing has changed. The focus and the concentration is still there. Obviously you want to finish it off as quickly as you can. Sometimes it doesn't go according to plan. We're just going to have to grind it out.”

Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (Hamden, Conn.) is treating Game 5 as if the slate has been wiped clean.

“Obviously it's disappointing anytime you lose, no matter what the situation is,” Quick said. “As of yesterday, as of today, it's 0‑0. You're trying to win Game 1.”

Quick entered the Cup finals with a 3-0-1 record in New Jersey. In those four games, he allowed a grand total of five goals. He coughed up just two in the first two tilts of this series, as the Kings were able to steal home ice advantage and take a 2-0 lead back home to Los Angeles.

Asked if a sense of familiarity with Prudential Center might help him on Saturday, Quick promptly shot such a theory down.

“No, it's like any arena,” he said. “You've got about 18,000 people that want you to lose no matter where you go.”

If L.A. able to take care of business, majority of those 18,000 fans will likely be filing out of the building swiftly as Quick and the Kings hoist hockey’s most coveted piece of hardware.

Jesse Connolly can be reached at jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.