We get it. That Jonathan Quick fellow is rather good at this game.
He’s kept the Devils to just two goals in three full contests, and is as big a reason as any the Kings are one game away from hoisting Lord Stanley's Cup.
But this New Jersey squad is not one starved for offensive firepower, especially with the man advantage. However, their inability to cash in on the power play, namely on last night’s 5-on-3 chance, has directly contributed to the 3-0 series hole they find themselves in.
In a hotly contested Game 3 last night, a game one might’ve called a “must-win” for New Jersey, the Kings went on a parade to the penalty box, yielding six power play chances for the Devils. Yes, Jonathan Quick stymied them on each of those six opportunities with some magnificent stops.
It’s fair to question how deep into the Devils snipers’ minds Quick has set up shop. New Jersey is 0-for-12 with the man advantage in this series. Their power play looks as stagnant as the water in Morris County right now.
Ilya Kovalchuk, who was supposed to be the star of this series until Anze Kopitar had other plans, continues to unsuccessfully man the blue line for nearly two minutes. Perhaps getting him in a better position to unleash that deadly wrist shot would be a good idea, Mr. DeBoer?
Who knows, though. Maybe they’d prefer he continues to fire one-timers high and wide, hoping for a quirky bounce off the back glass. Let’s not judge just yet.
Midway through the first period last night, the Kings offered one of these golden opportunities to New Jersey on a silver platter.
This Devils team has broken the age-old mold of “the trap,” or more commonly referred to as “the defensive system that ruined hockey.” Peter DeBoer’s high-pressure forechecking system was a breath of fresh air in the down in the swamps of Jersey, as they overpowered the Panthers, Flyers and Rangers en route to the Stanley Cup Final. He’s done a masterful job of getting his players to buy in to his style in his first year with the team.
Obviously, there’s not much of a precedent for erasing a 3-0 deficit in the Stanley Cup Final, save for the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs. The question now likely becomes how long Kings fans will have to wait to celebrate their first championship.
But if the Devils are to turn this ship around and give themselves a shot at history, DeBoer needs to make changes on the power play. And pronto. Being faced with beating arguably the best goaltender in the League four times in a row is going to be nearly impossible without taking what the Kings give you. And even now, it’s probably too late.