Having last taken the ice eight days earlier in Phoenix for an overtime win to close out the Coyotes, Los Angeles opened the Stanley Cup Final Wednesday in New Jersey with yet another victory.
This one came in overtime as well, with the Kings taking a one-game lead in the series with a 2-1 win in Game 1.
The Kings didn't miss a beat after the long layoff, as this win featured all the hallmarks of L.A.'s run through the first three rounds of the playoffs.
The Kings' depth continues to pay off, with the fourth line producing the first goal of the Final off the stick of Colin Fraser. He's the 12th forward, and 16th King overall, with a goal this postseason as Los Angeles has definitely spread the wealth around in the scoring department.
But as is befitting a team named the Kings, it's not a complete democracy when it comes to filling the net, though Los Angeles is probably better regarded as an oligarchy than a monarchy in that its top line continues to dominate. That unit was responsible for the game-winner in overtime, with Justin Williams' backhand pass out from the boards sending Anze Kopitar in all alone for the goal.
Williams, Kopitar and linemate Dustin Brown have now combined for 16 goals and 44 points through 15 playoff games. They easily won the showdown with New Jersey's top stars. Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise played on separate lines, but neither mustered much offense in this one. Kovalhcuk had just one shot in 21:13 of ice time, while Parise, Dainius Zubrus and Travis Zajac were a combined minus-6 after being on the ice for both L.A. goals. Parise did appear to give New Jersey a lead early in the third, but his goal was waved off as he swatted the puck into the net with his glove in a goalmouth scramble.
Jonathan Quick had a lot to do with the Devils' offensive struggles, as he was again nearly perfect in goal. He stopped 17 of the 18 shots he faced, with the lone new Jersey offering to beat him a bit of a flukey goal with a deflection on a shot by Anton Volchenkov.
Quick maintained the inside track on the Conn Smythe as he improved to 13-2 with a 1.49 GAA and .946 save percentage this postseason.
While the good trends continued for the Kings, so did the bad. They failed to convert their lone power-play chance and are now just 6 for 75 on the man advantage in the playoffs, an 8.0 percent success rate that even the Bruins find laughable. Of course, L.A. is able to overcome that with its penalty kill, which denied both New Jersey chances on this night and is now 5 for 59 (91.5 percent) in the postseason with five shorthanded goals.
That success helps explain the most impressive trend the Kings continued on Wednesday. They extended their NHL record by moving to 9-0 on the road this postseason. No team has ever won more than 10 road games in a single postseason.
The Kings can match that in Game 2 in Newark on Saturday. They may not need a return trip to the Garden State for a chance at No. 11 if all the elements on display in Wednesday's win remain in effect. The Kings have a chance to make quick work of the Devils in the Final as they have with every team in their path this spring.