Photos and VideosMore Photos and Videos
NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 02: Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings stands in goal before playing against the New Jersey Devils prior to Game Two of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Prudential Center on June 2, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Sometimes, hockey can be such a simple game. That fact can be infuriating or delirium-inducing, depending on which side you're on.
On Saturday night, the Kings were severely outplayed by the New Jersey Devils in LA's 2-1 overtime win in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. They were loose with the puck, the Devils pressured them into all sort of mistakes, and they couldn't muster any sustained chances of their own.
If the Devils had drawn it up before the game, this is probably how it looked.
And yet there isn't a blueprint, or a manual, or a dossier on how to solve Jonathan Quick when he's playing like this. And that's all the Kings needed. Quick kept them in the game, kept them to the point where all they needed was one moment of brilliance from Drew Doughty (the only other King who actually bothered to display a pulse) and one opening for Jeff Carter to be halfway to the ultimate prize.
And it's that simple. One man wearing a mask can simply turn a series or an entire playoff, which is what Quick is so close to doing. He makes it almost irrelevant that the Kings could barely string together three passes in a row. He makes it not matter that there were so many anonymous teammates, as the Kings got nothing from Kopitar, Brown, Richards, Williams, Penner, and up until OT Jeff Carter might as well have been down the street putting Springsteen on the bar jukebox.
So I could sit here and pontificate about what this wins means, or how the Devils' game means they're not out of this series yet, or how the Kings need to adjust to close this out. But none of it means anything, because the Kings have Quick, and the Devils don't.
And sometimes, it's as simple as that.
If Quick's level drops at all, then all those other things do come into play. But what does it matter what you change and what you do if it all results in everything being turned away at the pivotal moment? The Devils are probably asking themselves that right now.
Sam Fels is the proprietor of The Committed Indian, an unofficial program for the Chicago Blackhawks. His work has appeared on NBC Chicago, SB Nation, Yahoo's Puck Daddy and NBC's Pro Hockey Talk. Fels is a lifelong hockey fan and also writes for Second City Hockey.