LOS ANGELES — Adam Henrique scored the tiebreaking goal with 4:29 to play, Martin Brodeur made 21 saves, and the New Jersey Devils beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 on Wednesday night to avoid a sweep in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Patrik Elias and Ilya Kovalchuk also scored third-period goals for the Eastern Conference champion Devils, who forced the NHL to put the Stanley Cup back in its crate for another cross-country trip. Game 5 is Saturday night in Newark, N.J.
“It’s a tough situation, but we live another day,” Brodeur said. “We wanted to at least have one more game in our building for our fans. Hopefully, we’ll make the best of it and come back here.”
The Kings have won all 10 of their road playoff games this spring and 12 in a row overall – both NHL postseason records. But after never trailing in the Stanley Cup Finals, Los Angeles never led in Game 4.
After two tense, scoreless periods in front of fans hoping to see their first title in their 45-year history, Elias scored on a rebound with 12:04 to play.
Drew Doughty scored a tying power-play goal for the Kings 1:02 later, but Henrique scored on a slick pass from David Clarkson, and Kovalchuk added an empty-netter that sent fans streaming forlornly out into a warm evening in Southern California.
Jonathan Quick stopped 21 shots for the Kings, but lost his streak of nearly 139 shutout minutes right when he probably could have wrapped up the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
With a golden chance for a Hockeywood ending, Los Angeles dropped to 15-3 in its spectacular postseason run, failing to win the franchise’s first championship on its first try – and in its 200th playoff game– in front of the long-suffering fans.