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When the Kings wrap this up Wednesday night, and I really can't see anyway they won't, Jonathan Quick will get most of the credit.
He probably should.
Anze Kopitar's clutch goals will too, as will Drew Doughty's all-action style. The steady hand of Darryl Sutter will also receive plaudits.
But perhaps the main reason that the Kings have a stranglehold on this series is the penalty kill. Games 2 and 3 could have easily slipped away if the Devils could have managed one power play goal in each. Perhaps even if they'd generated just some momentum from their power plays, one of these games could have gone differently.
But the didn't. They haven't even managed to breathe.
Why? Well, what's working at even-strength for the Devils, if there is anything, doesn't work when they're a man up, which flies in the face of basic logic, but such is the world of sports.
Make no mistake, the Devils have had their stretches at even-strength the past two games. They've gotten them by harassing all the Kings D-men into turnovers deep in the attacking zone. Quick's been able to stand up to it because the Kings have recovered at least enough to not give up clear chances. But they haven't while killing a penalty, when you're supposed to just about double the amount of clear chances you get.
They've done that by not stranding the D-men as they have at even-strength. When the Kings are down a man, they stack all four killers along their blue line. There's almost no pressure up the ice. This forces the Devils to dump the puck behind those four, and try to go get it. While at even-strength the Devils are chasing one backtracking D-man, and the Kings are sending one or even two forwards back with him on the kill.
This always results in a board-battle, with things jamming up on the wall. Then, of course, the Kings' huge size advantage on the Devils kicks in. The Devils can't use their speed to counteract, because the puck or bodies aren't moving. The Kings then extract it and easily clear.
The Devils probably should have found a way to carry the puck in before this, with perhaps a drop pass at center ice causing the four Kings to back up. But it's too late now. The Kings have snuffed out New Jersey's one lifeline by using the biggest advantage they have -- their size.