NEWARK, N.J. -- The Kings were bemoaning the fact they were nowhere near their best in Game One but still came away with an overtime victory in the Stanley Cup final. They expect to play better, but they're also bracing for the Devils to come with much more than they showed in the opener.
“Nobody wants to be down 2-0 whether you’re on the road or at home, either way," Kings goalie Jonathan Quick said. "They’re going to come out and fight hard. We have to bring the game we know we can bring. We didn’t bring it last night. I don’t think they brought theirs either. The pace is going to be a little quicker, and it’s going to be more physical.”
New Jersey was uncharacteristically flat early in the game and afterward blamed nerves for slowing them down through the first two periods. Los Angeles spent the first 40 minutes trying to gain their legs after an eight-day layoff between series. Both teams played better in the third period, which should carry over into Saturday's game.
The Kings' success largely has come from getting strong starts. Los Angeles has been tied or in the league seven times during their nine game winning streak on the road. The Kings have a 7-1 record overall when scoring the first goal, which they did last night. But they also have played well late in games, outscoring their opponents, 16-4, in the third period and overtime.
"I thought they played as hard as anybody we’ve seen in the playoffs so far," Kings center Jeff Carter said. "They have a great forecheck, they get on you quick and they have a lot of speed up front. They provide a lot of pressure. I expect them to be better next game, too. I expect the next game to be ramped up a little more."
--- Bucky Gleason