Now comes the hard part for coach Peter DeBoer and the Devils. They have to follow it up with another win over a team that has posted a 15-3 mark in the postseason and not lost consecutive games.
"We know every time we can win a game and chip away, the end goal gets a little closer," DeBoer said Thursday. "I know it is a cliche, but I think if we win on Saturday night this series really takes a turn."
Kings coach Darryl Sutter thought his team played better Wednesday than it did in winning Game 2 in New Jersey.
However, Brodeur stood tall, got help on two shots off the goalpost, and rookie Adam Henrique scored a great goal late in the third period to put New Jersey ahead.
"That's why you play the series," Sutter said. "Unfortunately, we have some spoiled people that think that everyone wins 16 in a row or something. A little confusing to me."
The Kings have been in this position before on this road to what could be the franchise's first title since joining the league in 1967.
They won three straight over top-seeded Vancouver in the opening round, lost Game 4 at home, and clinched the series on the road, where the team is an NHL-record 10-0 in this postseason.
After sweeping second-seeded St. Louis in the second round, the eighth-seeded Kings followed the same formula in the Western finals, taking the first three games from third-seeded Phoenix, losing a possible clincher at home, and then nailing down their first trip to the Cup Finals since 1993 in Game 5.
"Elimination games, I don't know, the teams you play against are there for a reason," Los Angeles forward Justin Williams said. 'It's not supposed to be a sweep all the time. You're not supposed to win every game. . . . They played a great game, battled hard. We just didn't quite have enough."
- Associated Press