The fans at the Meadowlands saw overtime in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, but they got the same result—a loss for the home team. The Los Angeles Kings beat the New Jersey Devils 2-1, and not only prevented the Devils from tying the series at a game apiece, but left the home fans with no guarantee their team will be back again, as the Finals now go west with Los Angeles having a chance to close out their first-ever Stanley Cup this coming week.
Both defenses did an excellent job in keeping the other team’s top scorers off the puck. While New Jersey was able to get 30 shots in regulation play, Ilya Kovalchuk was not an active part of the offense, with only two shots. The same goes on the other side. Los Angeles was held to 21 shots, and neither Anze Kopitar—the hero of Game 1—nor Dustin Brown or Dustin Penner—were able to get in the flow. The three combined for two shots.
Los Angeles controlled the overtime session, getting 11 cracks at Martin Brodeur, compared to only three shots on goal for New Jersey in the extra session. And with just over six minutes remaining in the first OT, Jeff Carter launched a no-look shot from center ice—a high-quality look with teammates screening Brodeur—and it found the back of the net.
Game 3 will be on Monday night in the Staples Center and New Jersey’s mental focus is crucial. If they play defense the way they did on Saturday night, the Devils can certainly start winning games and make this a series. If that’s their mindset, then the Finals are still very much in play—home-ice is not prohibitive, so losing two at home isn’t as much of a death wish as it would be in the NBA. But if New Jersey feels like they played as good a defensive game as they could and still lost, then the Kings can close this series and hoist the Cup in short order.