LOS ANGELES -- Is it time to map out the parade route in downtown Los Angeles?
The Kings are now making the Stanley up Finals look like a mismatch after a dominating 4-0 Game 3 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Monday night left the Kings one win away from a four-game sweep and their first championship in franchise history.
Alec Martinez and Anze Kopitar broke through in the second period while Jeff Carter and Justin Williams awakened the Kings' 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 historic postseason performances in NHL history. They've won 15 of 17 playoff games after qualifying for the second season on the next-to-last regular-season game.
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 enrique in the second period.
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 77 chances coming into the game.
Frustrated after two overtime losses at home, the Devils continued to have no answer for a Kings' 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 a1-0 lead despite the protest of Brodeur, who wanted the play to be whistled dead.
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 Dustin 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 build his Conn Smythe Trophy case as the playoffs' most valuable player as he stopped 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 the inability to get pucks 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.
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.