Monday, June 4, 2012
Kings at home not an advantage in playoffs
By Katie Sharp, ESPN Stats & Information
Ed Mulholland/US PresswireThe Stanley Cup Final returns to Los Angeles for Game 3 as the Los Angeles Kings look to take a commanding 3-0 lead over the New Jersey Devils.
The Kings celebrate after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime in Game 2.
Kings Keys to the Game
The Kings are back on the west coast after winning the first two games of the series, both in overtime. But home has not been as sweet as the road for the Kings in this postseason.
Both of the Kings losses this season have come at home where they have converted just one of 32 power play opportunities; the Kings are undefeated in 10 road games and have outscored their opponents by 19 goals.
However, Los Angeles does have history on its side. This is the 12th time the road team has won the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final and those teams have gone on to win the Cup on nine of the previous 11 occasions.
The Kings have relied heavily on their defense to advance in these playoffs, having not allowed more than three goals in any of their 16 games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is one shy of the NHL record within one playoff year set by the 2008 Red Wings and matched by the Rangers this year.
They’ll need another strong effort from goalie Jonathan Quick tonight, as the Kings have scored two goals in their last two home games combined. The Kings finished 29th in the NHL in goals per game in the regular season, the third-lowest rate for a Stanley Cup Finalist in the modern era (since 1943-44).
Devils Keys to the Game
Despite back-to-back overtime losses at home to open the series, the Devils are confident heading into Game 3. They have won two straight and four of their last five road games, allowing two goals per game during that span.
However, the Devils have trailed in a series 2-0 twice since the lockout and lost both series. In 2006 they lost to the Carolina Hurricanes and in 2008 they lost to the New York Rangers.
If New Jersey is going to win Game 3, they’ll want to get off to a quick start. The Devils are 8-2 this postseason when they score first and lead all playoff teams with 23 first-period goals. But they have yet score in the first 20 minutes against the Kings.
The Devils also need Martin Brodeur to get back on track. Both of the overtime goals scored by the Kings in Games 1 and 2 came on shots low to his stick side. Brodeur has given up 14 goals to that location in these playoffs, more than any other spot.
Brodeur has never lost three straight Stanley Cup Final games, according to Elias. This is his third two-game losing streak, having previously lost two in a row in 2001 and 2003.
Stat of the Game
This is just the third time in NHL history that the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final have both gone to overtime. It also happened in 1946 between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, and in 1951 between the Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs.