NEWARK, N.J. — Jeff Carter scored at 13:42 in overtime and the Los Angeles Kings moved within two wins of their first NHL title with a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday night.
Jonathan Quick made 32 saves and Drew Doughty scored on a magnificent end-to-end rush as the Kings won their 10th consecutive road game this postseason, and their 12th in a row over the past two seasons. Both are NHL records.
The Kings are now 14-2 in the postseason, and they once again have another opponent wondering what’s going on.
New Jersey had won eight of 10 games in beating the Flyers and Rangers in the last two rounds in the Eastern Conference.
Now the Devils head to Los Angeles for Game 3 on Monday night
Teams that win Game 2 of the finals have gone on to capture the Cup 54 times in 72 years (75 percent) since the series went to a best-of-seven format in 1939, including eight of the past nine times.
The only team since 2002 to disrupt that chain was the Boston Bruins, who rallied from an 0-2 hole last year to beat Vancouver.
Road teams that win the first two games of the finals are 11-2.
After five days in New Jersey, the Kings had only one game of the Stanley Cup Finals under their belts until Saturday night.
Having time to kill was nothing new for the Kings during this postseason, but they aren’t usually on the road for their down time.
“We’ve had this a lot, actually, back in the early series, just because of the Staples Center scheduling with the Clippers and Lakers being in it,” Kings captain Dustin Brown said. “We had a lot of two days in between, so we’re used to it. It’s a little more difficult maybe sitting around when you’re not at home, but it’s part of it.”
New Jersey had four days off between its Game 6 win over the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals and the Cup Finals opener on Wednesday.
“I don’t think it’s a perfect scenario, all the days off,” Devils coach Peter DeBoer said.
“I don’t think anyone enjoys that. You want to play. You get to this point, as coaches you get tired at looking at tape, analyzing. You analyze it to death. From a player’s perspective, they have that nervous energy. The only release is dropping the puck and playing.
“I don’t think it favors either side. It is what it is and you just deal with it the best you can.”
HOCKEY ON NO-NO: Devils forward David Clarkson spent part of Friday night watching the Toronto Blue Jays play the Boston Red Sox on television, but he did see the end of Johan Santana’s no-hitter for the New York Mets, the first in the club’s history.
“I caught the tail end, when he closed it out,” Clarkson said Saturday. “That was pretty special. It was pretty cool to see his teammates’ reactions. That’s what I loved about it, seeing the expressions on his face, and his teammates were so happy for him. The guys on the bench were all hanging over the rail.”
Devils rookie Adam Henrique politely said it wasn’t time for baseball.
“There’s a lot more baseball to watch after the season,” Henrique said.
Dustin Brown packs plenty of punch into his powerful 6-foot, 204-pound frame.
Other than being known as the Los Angeles Kings’ captain, Brown has developed quite a following for the punishing hits he delivers. Brown was second in the NHL with 293 hits in 82 regular-season games and delivered a club-best 70 more through Los Angeles’ first 15 playoff games this year.
There are several YouTube clips dedicated to the punishment doled out by Brown, and it is easy to replays of the shoulder shot that flattened Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin in Game 3 of the clubs’ first-round series. Sedin crawled to the bench following the hit that went unpenalized and was deemed clean by Sedin.
“It’s one of those things that you kind of learn as you go,” Brown said Saturday of his physical style. “Some of my biggest impact hits aren’t because I’m bigger or stronger than the guy, it’s because of the timing of everything. The timing is probably the hardest thing to get down.”
Brown cited St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie as someone who is smaller in build but hits harder. Brown also offered a wry smile when describing a blow he took several years ago from Ethan Moreau. Brown said it was the hardest shot he has ever taken, and talked about it as if he was wearing a badge of honor for surviving it.
The 27-year-old Brown learned the art of hitting by watching playoff games way back when he was a kid.
“I remember going to Pee Wee and being excited about the prospect of being able to hit someone,” the native of Ithaca, N.Y., said. “It’s different for kids nowadays, considering the climate of the game with the physicality and the head shots. They’ll probably learn at a younger age what to do and what not to do.
“You watch playoff games from ‘93, ‘94, it’s like football out there. That’s what I grew up watching. I think I learned pretty young in Pee Wee hockey about the hitting from behind. That stuff kind of stays with you.”