WHAT IT MEANS: The Devils have overcome adversity throughout the playoffs.
But they’ve never faced this type of daunting deficit before.
After losing back-to-back 2-1 decisions in overtime, the Devils were throttled by the Kings 4-0 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals on Monday night in Los Angeles and now face a 3-0 hole.
Only three teams in NHL history have ever rallied from 3-0 down to win a best-of-seven series: the 2010 Flyers (vs. Boston in the conference semifinals); 1975 Islanders (vs. Pittsburgh in the quarterfinals); and 1942 Maple Leafs (vs. Detroit in the finals).
The Kings, who have outscored the Devils 8-2 in the series, are one victory away from their first championship in franchise history. Los Angeles (15-2 this postseason) became the first team to take 3-0 leads in all four of its series.
New Jersey has never led during the series so far.
POWER FAILURE: The Devils’ power play was -- in a word Ilya Kovalchuk used after Game 2 -- “embarrassing.” New Jersey went 0-for-6 on the man advantage in Game 3 -- and is 0-for-12 in the series.
The Devils had a golden opportunity to break through on a 1-minute 5-on-3 in the first period with Mike Richards in the penalty box for elbowing and Jeff Carter also in the box for a high-sticking double-minor. Zach Parise, Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac all had chances but couldn’t score, and Marek Zidlicky’s tripping penalty whipped out most of the remaining time.
The Kings outworked the Devils for loose pucks on the penalty kill, and Kovalchuk was a nonfactor on the point.
Los Angeles, by the way, was 2-for-2 on the power play. Both Jeff Carter (sixth) and Justin Williams (third) notched man-advantage goals in the final frame.
DOUGHNUTS ALL AROUND: Kovalchuk and Parise have been held off the score sheet during the series -- and they haven’t been getting any help either. Devils coach Peter DeBoer switched up his line combinations at the start of the third period to no avail.
MVP: Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick has saved 72 of the 74 shots he’s faced in the series.
FIRST GOAL WINS: Alec Martinez gave the Kings a 1-0 lead at 5:40 of the second period. Twenty seconds after Quick stoned David Clarkson on a 2-on-1, Martinez jammed home a loose puck in front for his first goal of the playoffs. An irate Martin Brodeur wanted a whistle after making a couple of saves on Dwight King on the doorstep, but it never came.
Los Angeles has scored the first goal in every game during the series.
THAT’S PRETTY: Williams, Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar combined on a nifty tic-tac-toe passing combination that resulted in Kopitar’s eighth goal of the postseason and a 2-0 Los Angeles edge at 15:07 of the middle frame. Kopitar beat Parise on a rush and one-timed a perfect diagonal feed from Brown upstairs for his second marker of the finals.
It was the first two-goal lead for either team during the series.
UP NEXT: Game 4, Wednesday night at Staples Center