So close but so far away for the Kings. New Jersey beat them, 2-1, in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, returning the series to Staples Center.
The lone Kings goal came on a standout effort by forward Justin Williams, who scored in the second period to tie it, 1-1, beating Devils goalie Martin Brodeur on the stick side.
New Jersey got the game-winning goal midway through the second period when defenseman Bryce Salvador's shot deflected off Kings defenseman Slava Voynov.
Salvador, who has 14 points in the playoffs, joked that it went "off 16 people and went in."
The Kings lead the best-of-seven series, three games to two, and Game 6 will be on Monday night.
"Right now we're able to pull two tight games on our side, like they did in Game 1 and 2," said Brodeur, who made 25 saves and kept his team afloat when the Kings were buzzing with early energy and verve.
"So it's a matter of us now going into a tough environment in L.A. to try to ruin the party again. I think they're so close to winning the Stanley Cup that I'm sure it's getting to them a little bit, to be able to have all these chances and not capitalize on them."
All that was missing from Brodeur was a sinister cackle.
That's the beauty of a best-of-seven series, the twists and turns that develop, the pressure shifting from one dressing room to another, the questions raised and answered.
Presumably, there will be plenty about Kings captain Dustin Brown, who has one point in the Final, and did not play the final 3 minutes, 56 seconds of the game. If he is carrying some sort of an injury, that sort of information is not revealed until after a series ends.
Either way, it all felt like a significant shift after the Kings lost for the first time in 11 playoff games on the road this spring.
"It doesn't matter," Quick said. "We prepare the same way whether we win or lose. Whether we win five in a row or we lose five in a row. Prepare the same way.
"It doesn't matter where you lose - home or away."
The Devils are just the third team that has trailed 3-0 in the Final - and the first since 1945 - to extend the series to Game 6.
"I've been singing the same tune since Game 1," said New Jersey Coach Peter DeBoer. "I said even when we were down 3-0 that I didn't feel that the series was that lopsided.
"Our best players were our best players tonight, Brodeur and [Zach] Parise, [Ilya] Kovalchuk."