Rookie Adam Henrique was once again the savior for the New Jersey Devils, as his goal with 4:31 left in regulation helped them to a 3-1 win in Game 4 to send the Stanley Cup Final back to Newark and avoid a sweep by the Los Angeles Kings.
"We just played solid hockey," said goalie Marty Brodeur, who had 20 saves. "We wanted to have at least one more game in our building for our fans. Hopefully we make the best of it."
Henrique had previously scored the series-winning overtime goals against the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers before this tally against the Kings:
Forward David Clarkson, seeking redemption for a soft penalty that led to the Kings' tying goal earlier in the third period, began the play with a nifty move around Willie Mitchell of the Kings at the blue line. He faked a shot and sent a cross-ice pass to Henrique, who kicked it to his stick and snapped a shot high to the stick side off the pipe.
"Big time play," said Coach Pete DeBoer. "Goal scorer's play, and he's got a knack for that."
Ilya Kovalchuk scored the empty netter for the game-clincher, tying Anze Kopitar for the playoff lead in points.
The Devils had their first lead of the series with 12:04 left in regulation, as a Bryce Salvador blast from the point deflected in on Quick, and a rebound traveled to Patrik Elias for a backhand into a wide open net. It completed nearly 40 seconds of zone time for the Devils. It was the first time they scored the first goal of the game during the Final.
The lead lasted 1 minute, 2 seconds.
David Clarkson of the Devils was called for a pedestrian boarding penalty as Dustin Brown admired his dump in. Drew Doughty's blast from the blue line just six seconds into the power play tied the game 1-1. It was Doughty's fourth goal of the playoffs and second of the series; Anze Kopitar's assist moved him into the playoff lead for points.
The game's first 40 minutes featured the Devils playing a solid road gameplan, getting outshot 14-11 but keeping Game 4 scoreless. The Kings had three power-play chances thwarted; the Devils were empty on two chances, failing to convert any of their 15 power-play opportunities in the series after missing on another one late in the game. Los Angeles also clanged the puck off of two posts, including one chance that sent the goal lights inside Staples Center flashing.
As they did in Games 1 and 2, Devils goalie Martin Brodeur and Quick dueled save for save — Brodeur sprawling with poke checks and flashing kick saves, while Quick was positionally sound and athletically outstanding when necessary.
But in the end, the Devils finally solved Quick more than once in a game, for their first win of the series. DeBoer made some smart line changes and finally inserted Petr Sykora and Henrik Tallinder into the lineup for Game 4, and both played well.
The Kings hit the road again, where they've yet to lose, going 10-0. In fact, Los Angeles can both win the Cup and break the NHL record for road victories in Game 5.