Stats & Info: Martin Brodeur

Crown 'em: Kings Quick to win first Cup

June, 11, 2012
Put it on ice, the coronation is now complete. The Los Angeles Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in Game 6 on Monday night to win their first Stanley Cup in their 44th season as an NHL franchise.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Kings 44-season wait is the longest for any NHL team before winning its first Stanley Cup. The only major pro sports teams to wait longer before winning a title were three MLB teams: Phillies (98), Dodgers (66) and Orioles (66).

How unlikely was this Stanley Cup title for the Kings?

• The Kings are the first 8-seed to win the Stanley Cup since the conference-based playoff format was introduced in 1994. In fact, no team seeded sixth or worse has won the Cup in this format.

• The Kings switched coaches not once, but twice this season. The Kings began the season with Terry Murray, who was fired on December 12, and replaced by John Stevens on an interim basis (four games). The team then hired Darryl Sutter on December 20.

The Kings are just the second team in the four major sports to win a title with as many as three different head coaches/managers during the regular season, joining the 1978 Yankees.

• The Kings victory ended a streak of four consecutive seasons in which the Stanley Cup champion clinched the title on the road. That ties the longest such streak in league history, also done from 1979-82 and 1989-92, according to Elias.

When Dustin Brown scored the first goal of the game in the first period, the Kings could almost taste the champagne. The team that scored first in this series won each game, and the Kings went 11-1 this postseason when scoring first.

The Kings erupted for three goals in the first period, scoring all three during a five-minute major power play within a three-minute, 58-second span.

According to Elias, this was the second-shortest span for a team scoring three power-play goals in a Stanley Cup Final game. In 1954, the Montreal Canadiens scored three power-play goals in a 56-second span against the Detroit Red Wings.

The Kings scored those three goals despite holding the offensive zone for just 44 percent of the power play. Los Angeles’ three goals all came within 30 seconds of entering the zone. The Kings held the offensive zone 61 percent of the time on their other power play opportunities, but failed to score.

For the game, the Kings peppered Martin Brodeur on his low stick side, but failed to score any of their five goals on Brodeur on such shots. When the Kings tried to go elsewhere against Brodeur, the result was five goals on 13 attempts (two high glove, one high stick, one low glove and one five hole).

The Kings five-goal margin of victory is tied with the Edmonton Oilers 8-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in 1985 for the second-largest in a Stanley Cup-clinching win in NHL history. The only larger win was the Pittsburgh Penguins 8-0 victory versus the Minnesota North Stars in 1991.

Kings at home not an advantage in playoffs

June, 4, 2012
Ed Mulholland/US PresswireThe Kings celebrate after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime in Game 2.
The 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.

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.

Guaranteed: Down 3-2 a tough spot for N.Y.

May, 25, 2012

Is this déjà vu from the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals? The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils face off tonight in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals with the Devils looking to advance to their fifth Stanley Cup Final.

This series is playing out eerily similar to a previous playoff matchup between these teams in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals. The dates of Games 3-7 from that series are the exact same dates as this season, and this year’s results for those games have gone exactly as they did in 1994.

The teams once again head to New Jersey for a Game 6, with the Rangers trailing 3-2 and needing a win to avoid elimination.

Don’t forget, it was after New York’s Game 5 loss in 1994 that Mark Messier guaranteed a win in Game 6. The Devils jumped out 2-0 in that game before the Rangers scored four unanswered goals, including a hat trick from Messier. Will the Rangers be able to find that same magic again tonight?

So far there have been no Messier-like guarantees from the Rangers locker room and the team is trying to downplay the comparison while maintaining a similar urgency to win.

"We can't put more pressure on ourselves. We always want to win," Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said. "You always want to play a desperate game. (But) you don't want to go out there and do too much and be too excited. You need to find a good balance emotionally, and just go out there and try to play as well as you can."

Stats To Know
History is not on the Rangers side as they try to rally and advance to the Stanley Cup Final. The Rangers have won just two of 18 series all-time in which they trailed 3-2. However, one of those comebacks was in 1994 against the Devils and the other was this postseason against the Ottawa Senators.

There is a good chance that the Blueshirts could force a Game 7, though. Henrik Lundqvist is 3-0 with a 1.33 goals against average and .948 save percentage in games in which his team could have been eliminated this postseason.

The key in this game might just be who lights the lamp first. Starting with Game 7 against Ottawa, the Rangers have won all seven games in which they scored the first goal and lost all six games in which their opponent scored first, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Devils have not suffered any early-game jitters in the playoffs, outscoring their opponents 21-9 in the first period, including 6-1 in this series.

The Devils also should feel confident about their chances tonight with Martin Brodeur, one of the greatest netminders in NHL history, looking for his 111th career playoff win (2nd-most all-time). Since being pulled versus the Florida Panthers in Game 3, Brodeur is 5-1 with a .930 save percentage in six home games.