Devils beat Kings, 2-1, force Game 6 in Stanley Cup finals

Posted: June 10, 2012

NEWARK, N.J. - On the exact two-year anniversary of Patrick Kane's crushing, Stanley Cup-clinching overtime goal at the Wells Fargo Center, the New Jersey Devils kept Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne without a title.

For two more days, at least.

In prolonging their season, the Devils did two things with a 2-1 win over the Kings in Saturday night's Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals that no other team was able to accomplish so far in the postseason: beat Los Angeles on the road and push the Kings to a sixth game in a series.

The Devils still trail the Kings, 3-2, in the best-of-seven series.

"It's a series," Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "As disappointing as it is, you have to put it behind you. I don't deny that we're disappointed, but I don't think we're at the point of panic."

Behind an unflappable Martin Brodeur, gunning for his fourth Stanley Cup title, the Devils snapped Los Angeles' mind-blowing 11-0 streak on the road this postseason.

Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador notched the game-winner in the second period, breaking a 1-1 tie to send the series (and the Stanley Cup) hurtling 2,400 miles west for the second time in a week.

Game 6 is Monday night in Los Angeles, making it the Kings' third straight opportunity to close out their first championship in the franchise's 44-season history.

As if those two "firsts" weren't impressive enough for the Devils on Saturday night, they joined elite NHL company. New Jersey is just the third team in league history to extend a Stanley Cup final series to six games after losing the first three.

Overall, the team trailing 3-0 in a series is 1-for-29 in NHL history. Of the only other two to make it - the 1942 Maple Leafs and 1945 Detroit Red Wings - only the Leafs have successfully come all the way back. Detroit forced a Game 7 in '45 but lost.

After slapping together four of the most dull and boring games in recent Stanley Cup final history, the Kings and Devils answered with a Game 5 that had a little bit of everything: blood, bone-crunching hits, bountiful scoring chances, and a beautiful trophy in the building.

The Devils gave their believing fans more to cheer about when Zach Parise opened the scoring with a behind-the-net stuff attempt on the power play. A jittery Jonathan Quick tried to bang the puck around the net when it popped right on Parise's stick for the slam dunk goal 12:45 into the first period.

Parise's goal sent the Kings heading into the second period trailing for just the second time in 19 postseason games this year.

New Jersey's lead didn't last for long, as former Flyer Justin Williams rifled a twine-tickling shot through traffic just 3:26 into the middle frame.

From there, Brodeur kept the Kings at bay, stopping Jarret Stoll on a breakaway and Drew Doughty on a point-blank chance on a power play minutes later.

Brodeur, 40, added the calming influence in the Devils zone that helped regain the lead for New Jersey at the other end. Salvador snuck a rising wrister inside the far post before the second period was halfway old to give the Devils a 2-1 lead heading into the locker room.

New Jersey is now 10-1 in Games 4-7 of a playoff series this spring. The Kings have now lost two straight for the first time since early April.

The trio of former Flyers - all held off the scoresheet on Saturday - were on the last team (2010) to overcome a three-games-to-none deficit in professional sports, when they helped the Flyers beat the Bruins in that magical Eastern Conference semifinal. Now, they are slowly watching an equally huge lead slip from their grasp.

To quote Terry Murray, the man who coached these Kings until December, it's now a "choking situation."

"We certainly know what's at stake," Williams said. "We're not going to hang our heads. They're leaving smiling, we're leaving [ticked] off."


Contact Frank Seravalli at seravaf@phillynews.com or @DNFlyers on Twitter.

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