NEWARK, NJ — For the first time in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Jonathan Quick has lost consecutive games.
For the first time in the playoffs, the Los Angeles Kings lost a game on the road. For the first time in the Stanley Cup Final, the New Jersey Devils found a way to score a power-play goal, and it was Quick's mishandled puck that led to it.
But with the Kings up 3-2 heading back to Los Angeles, Quick said this was not the first time his team has been tested.
"I felt we were tested pretty hard in the first, second and third round. Just because we were able to come out on top doesn't mean we weren't tested," he said after the Kings' 2-1 loss in Game 5 on Saturday night in Newark.
"You look at all the games, and three out of every four wins were 1-goal games. If you don't think we weren't tested in those games, you should be [covering] a different sport."
Quick's stickhandling blunder in the first period led to Zach Parise's power-play goal, which opened the door for the Devils to eventually push this series into Game 6 on Monday in Los Angeles.
"I didn't put the puck where I wanted to, and Parise put it in the net," said Quick on the first goal of the game; the team that's scored it has won each game of the series.
"We needed the first goal. Regardless of how it looked, we needed the first goal," said Devils Coach Pete DeBoer.
"Marty made some big saves for us. We capitalized on a mistake. But it's nice that we're finding some holes in them right now."
While Quick could be faulted for the Parise goal, he atoned for it with some acrobatic saves in making 17 stops against the Devils, none better than this save with his mask on Ryan Carter:
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ice, Martin Brodeur continued to defy the mileage on his body with a 25-save performance, outplaying Quick on a night with the Cup on the line.
"Well, he's played well, very well, the last two nights," said Kings Coach Darryl Sutter. "You know, we're probably saying what they said in Games 1 and 2, where we got breaks and now they did. That's how even it is. We hit a couple posts again tonight, and you hope one goes off the post and in."
Defenseman Matt Greene concurred: "We had some fortunate bounces go our way in the first three games. Last couple of games, we got some pipes. We just have to keep plugging away."
The Kings get another crack at hoisting the Cup at home on Monday, but now questions of pressure and history follow them back West. No team has lost a 3-0 series lead and lost the Stanley Cup Final since 1942.
To a man, the Kings said they don't feel the first and are unconcerned with the second; Quick said his vibe is the same as it's been throughout the postseason.
"Same as after we won three in a row. It doesn't matter. It's that time of the year when you're going to win games and lose games. Same as after we swept St. Louis. Same as after we won three in a row," he said.
Quick said the Devils hadn't done anything differently in winning two games than when they lost three games. "They've been playing the same game. They've been played the same game for I don't know how many years," he said.
"They were better than us today. We gotta be better than them on Monday."