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Kings rout Devils, move within one game of Cup

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Is it time to map out the parade route in downtown Los Angeles?

The Kings are making the Stanley Cup final look like a mismatch after a dominating 4-0 Game 3 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Monday night left Los Angeles one win away from a four-game sweep and the first championship in franchise history.

Alec Martinez and Anze Kopitar broke through in the second period while Jeff Carter and Justin Williams awakened a derided power play in the third period. It was more than enough support for goalie Jonathan Quick.

The Kings are on the verge of completing one of the more impressive postseason performances in NHL history. They've won 15 of 17 playoff games after qualifying for the second season in the next-to-last regular-season game.

Game 4 is Wednesday night at Staples Center.

"You don't really think about it," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "I'm sure I'll think about it tonight and tomorrow. But when you get to the rink and you're lacing your skates up, you think about it probably right before you go on the ice -- the opportunity we have on Wednesday night."

Quick was at his best in the first two periods, which allowed his teammates to work their way into the game. Two of his best saves came on back-to-back chances by Devils rookie Adam Henrique in the second period.

The Kings' star goalie made 22 saves in all for his third shutout in these playoffs alone. Hardware could be coming his way in the near future -- the Vezina Trophy finalist is the odds-on favorite for the Conn Smythe, awarded to the playoffs' most valuable player.

"You need outstanding goaltending to win playoff games," Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said. "He's given us that."

Ageless goalie Martin Brodeur couldn't match him behind a demoralized New Jersey team.

Carter, who won Game 2 in overtime, blew open the game with a power-play goal early in the third. Williams then added the icing on the cake with his own power-play goal. The Kings hadn't had a goal with the man advantage in five games and had only six scores in their last 77 chances coming into the game.

At game's end, confetti shot out from the rafters over the rollicking franchise-record overflow crowd of 18,764. Cheers of "We want the Cup" were already breaking out during the Game 3 rout.

"If we win one more game, I hope the San Andreas Fault can take it," Kings winger Dustin Penner said.

Frustrated after two overtime losses at home, the Devils continued to have no answer for a Los Angeles unit that has been locked in since the playoffs began.

It was painfully clear in the second period.

Quick made a number of key saves, including one on New Jersey forward David Clarkson that started a chain of events in a matter of seconds.

The young guard of the Kings took over on the ensuing shift. Rookie Dwight King got a pass from linemate Trevor Lewis and forced Brodeur to make a big stop. But Brodeur couldn't secure the puck and King kept jamming away at it.

With the Devils unable to clear the 6-foot-3 King from the crease, Martinez jumped in and poked the puck over the goal line for a 1-0 lead despite the protest of Brodeur, who thought the play should have been whistled dead.

"That's a momentum-changing call at the time," New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer said. "I hope he's right. That's an awful big call if you're wrong.

"My opinion on it, as soon as you lose sight of the puck, the whistle's supposed to go. Even if you don't get it to your mouth, your intent is to blow it when you lose sight. Should be dead puck, so ..."

Martinez's goal allowed the Kings to score first for the 11th time in their 17 playoff games. The top line then came up with a highlight-reel score to put more pressure on the bedeviled Devils.

Williams dropped the puck off a rush to Brown, who gave the crashing Kopitar a perfect cross-ice pass, allowing the center to one-time it past Brodeur for a 2-0 lead.

Meanwhile, Quick continued to serve as a human wall at the other end, stopping all 16 New Jersey shots he faced in the first 40 minutes.

The Kings escaped the first period behind their air-tight penalty-killing unit, which came into Game 3 having erased 58 of the 63 disadvantages the Kings have faced over their first 16 playoff games.

New Jersey got its first great chance when Mike Richards was whistled for elbowing, and then Carter drew a double minor for high sticking Henrique just 61 seconds later.

The Devils suddenly had a two-man advantage for 59 seconds and nearly five minutes of power-play time. But their inability to get the puck past Quick appears to be in their heads.

Kings defenseman Matt Greene blocked two of Ilya Kovalchuk's slap shots while teammates Jarret Stoll and Willie Mitchell also helped slow the Devils' slumbering power play.

"He chewed them up and spit them out," Penner said of Greene's work. "You could just tell how much it means to the guys in this room. It just excites and pumps everyone up."

And when the Devils finally got a shot through, Quick was there to turn it aside, as he slid over to deny Zach Parise. New Jersey defenseman Marek Zidlicky then coughed up the puck to Richards at the blue line and was forced to trip him.

"We got a lot of good chances," Kovalchuk said. "Couldn't score. They scored. They won. We are going to fight through the end anyways."

It was the personification of a power play -- and a New Jersey team -- that's been absolutely powerless to slow down the rampaging Kings.
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