The Devils prevailed in Game 5 against the Los Angeles Kings, winning 2-1 and protecting their lead through a period and a half against a furious offensive barrage. Goal scorers for the Devils included captain Zach Parise, who scored his first of the series after an uncharacteristic flub from Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick and Bryce Salvador, whose 14 points tie him with Drew Doughty for most points scored by a defenseman.
* Kings lose two in a row for the first time this post-season.
* The Kings’ impeccable 10-0 road record has been snapped tonight.
* With tonight’s win, the 2012 New Jersey Devils join an exclusive club. Only two other teams have forced Game 6 after losing the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final. It has been 67 years since the feat was last accomplished – until tonight. The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs won the Cup. The 1945 Detroit Red Wings lost in seven games.
The first period began rocky for the Devils, with Brodeur facing an early surge on the net and an LA chance pinging off a post. The pace was a frenetic up-and-down open game, very different from previous games in this series. The Devils conceded too many turnovers in the neutral zone, and forced only 4 shots on net throughout the period. A scary moment occurred halfway through the 1st with Patrik Elias being forced hard into the boards. Luckily, his face remained unharmed and an interference penalty was called on Williams. The Devils were able to capitalize with Parise scoring his first of the series, unassisted (perhaps by Quick, secondary assist to the boards) with 7:15 left in the first. O Captain, my Captain.
Los Angeles quickly tied the game at 3:26 of the 2nd, with Justin Williams getting a quick wrister past a screened Brodeur. The period showcased a brilliant goaltending battle, with Brodeur stacking the pads on a Stoll breakaway at 4:53 and Quick making a right pad save on Travis Zajac at 5:09. The Devils were still suffering in the neutral zone, but Salvador managed to get the puck to the net and put one past Quick, bringing the Devils up 2-1.
After that, the Devils fiercely protected their lead. But they didn’t step back, with play heating up and tensions finally rising between the two teams. A potential equalizer by Stoll at 11:16 was quickly waved off for being swatted in with a high-stick. Anton Volchenkov was lost for the rest of the period after being struck in the face by Mike Richards’ stick during play and retreating to the locker room. The Devils were put on the spot when their other prized defenseman Salvador was put into the box for high-sticking Simon Gagne at 18:38.
The remaining 38 seconds of the Kings’ PP trickled over into the 3rd, but the Devils were able to kill the penalty and defend against a Kings surge towards the net. Action remained largely in the Devils’ defensive zone and the Devils’ second PP was inefficient, with only 1 SOG. The fourth line (Carter-Gionta-Bernier), however, put on an excellent shift with great puck possession. The Devils were also leading the Kings in hits, 25-17, showing their ability to establish a heavy forecheck.
A scrum at Quick’s net towards the end of the period luckily did not injure Henrique’s face, nor his game-winning mustache. The ensuing penalties from the incident (minors to Ponikarovsky and Penner) created a 4-on-4 situation with two minutes remaining and the Kings up 9-2 in SOG. Quick was pulled with 1:07 remaining and the Devils were put into a shorthanded situation. Luckily, Brodeur was there. He defended his net against several rushes in the remaining seconds of the 2-1 game.
SOG, 26-19 Kings.
Face-off wins, 28-25 Devils.
Hits, 34-23 Devils.
Your Swarm it Up Player of the Game: Martin Brodeur.
With a phenomenal Game 5 performance younger than his years, Brodeur made 25 of 26 saves and finished with a .962%SV. Age is but a number.
Kings lead the series, 3-2. Game 6 is Monday, 8PM EST on NBC.