Kings in Control as Stanley Cup Final Shifts From Newark to Los Angeles


Kings in Control as Stanley Cup Final Shifts From Newark to Los Angeles"You come at the king, you best not miss."

Those were the words of one Omar Little, one of the most indelible characters of the acclaimed HBO series "The Wire." That program debuted exactly 10 years before the Kings and Devils squared off in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday in New Jersey.

But just as Emmy voters so often missed the boat on television's greatest drama, so too did the Devils fail to heed the wisdom of the lethal Mr. Little.

The Devils had their shot at cutting down the Kings and evening this series on home ice. And they came out strong, controlling play for most of the opening period. But they could not get any of their 10 first-period shots past Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick, not even with a pair of power plays in the game's opening eight minutes.

Instead, the Kings got on the board first when Drew Doughty fired in a wrister from the right circle at 7:49 of the first, and the Kings also delivered the final blow when Jeff Carter scored from the slot at 13:42 of overtime to lift Los Angeles to a 2-1 victory and a 2-0 series lead.

The Devils came at the Kings, but they missed.

Now the series will shift back to L.A. for Game 3 on Monday, and it may not return to Newark. Not that it would necessarily matter if it did. The Kings tied the NHL record for road wins in a single postseason and extended the mark they already owned for consecutive road playoff victories as they improved to 10-0 on enemy ice this postseason.

The Devils will have to show that same kind of ability to survive away from home in the next two games in Los Angeles if they want to get back into this series and have a shot at their fourth Cup in franchise history.

While the Kings were evoking images of a gritty Baltimore street drama, the Devils appeared trapped in less serious cinema. For New Jersey, Saturday's game was like "Groundhog Day," with Game 2 playing out in almost identical fashion to Wednesday's series opener.

That night, the Kings struck first in the opening period, then pulled out a 2-1 win in overtime after the Devils had tied it late in the second period. On Saturday, the Kings again went up early, only to see New Jersey pull even, this time on a Ryan Carter redirection early in the third. But in the end, it was another 2-1 OT victory for the Kings after their Carter countered in sudden death.

As on Monday, the Kings followed the same formula to take control of the series. Quick remained dominant, stopping 32 of the 33 shots he faced. He hasn't been beaten on a direct shot yet. Wednesday's lone goal went in off Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, while Saturday's was a tip in front.

Meanwhile, the Kings keep getting just enough offense from unlikely sources (fourth-liner Colin Fraser on Wednesday, defenseman Doughty jumping up in the play on Saturday) and the stars who should come through in big spots (Anze Kopitar with the OT winner in Game 1, followed by Carter's clutch shot Saturday).

Carter was the Kings' big deadline acquisition, but has been relatively quiet. This goal was his first since a hat trick in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final against Phoenix, a span of five games. But Carter's game-winner was a pure goal-scorer's play.

He started with a drive down the right wing, but his initial shot was stopped. He didn't quit on the play though, continuing around behind the net and collecting the loose puck, then came out front to the high slot and fired home a second effort through traffic.

Even when it comes to the few things they don't do well, the Kings have stayed consistent. Their power play remained as dismal as ever on Saturday, failing to convert two chances. They are now 6 for 77 with the man advantage in the playoffs, a retched 7.8 percent success rate.

They've only survived that deficiency because their penalty kill has been so spectacular. Los Angeles killed off four more penalties on Saturday, and has now allowed just five power-play goals on 63 chances this postseason (92.1 percent).

Winning on the road and failing to convert on the power play isn't supposed to be the recipe for bringing home a Cup, but it's worked so far for the Kings, who are going back to Cali in complete control of this Final with a 2-0 lead before even stepping foot on home ice.

Have a question for Douglas Flynn? Send it to him via Twitter at @douglasflynn or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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