- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 2, 2012

NEWARK, N.J. — It was hard to tell from the Los Angeles Kings‘ side after Game 1 that they even had a lead on the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Final. Much of the talk was about it being perhaps their worst game of the playoffs and the need to be better.

“They’re going to be a desperate team because they obviously they don’t want to go down 2-0 in the series,” Kings forward Anze Kopitar said Friday. “We have to play with the same level of desperation and the same level of energy if not better than we did in Game 1.”

Energy was there, along with Jonathan Quick’s usual brilliance. Then, when Jeff Carter scored in overtime to give the Kings a 2-1 victory in Game 2 on Saturday night at Prudential Center, he also put a stranglehold on the Devils in the series.

“It’s a huge win, it’s a big win for the team,” Carter said. “It gets us a two-game lead here and gets us where we wanted to be coming in here.”


The Kings just keep rolling along, winning Games 1 and 2 for the fourth straight round to move to 14-2 in the postseason, with a 10-0 record on the road. It’s almost unheard of how much success they’re having while making it look easy.

“Not at all,” forward Dustin Penner said. “Quite the contrary.”

But when the Kings keep doing this to teams, it’s hard to deny the buzz saw they’ve become. Devils coach Peter DeBoer seemed to realize that his team couldn’t do much more than it did Saturday night in turning up the intensity and playing like a desperate team. But they’re still down two games to none, which could be demoralizing especially given Los Angeles’ track record in these playoffs.

“We are not dead, there is nothing impossible,” Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur said. “If they can win two games on the road, we can also do it. We have a strong team on the road.”

The Kings were prepared for everything the Devils threw at them in Game 2, including when New Jersey buzzed and looked like it had the winner a few times in the final minutes of regulation. Ilya Kovalchuk rang one off the crossbar with 17 seconds left, but Carter didn’t miss with his shot past Brodeur 13:42 into overtime.

“We knew we had a goal in here somewhere,” forward Jarret Stoll said. “That’s all we were talking about in the intermission: Someone had it. We knew we had it, we just had to find a way.”

The Kings keep finding a way. Up 2-0 in this series, they’re in control of the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

But just like after Game 1, Darryl Sutter’s team was even-keeled.

“It feels great, but you don’t win anything with two games,” Stoll said. “We’ve got two more to go.”

The Kings boarded a cross-country flight shortly after another emotional victory. But there’s no joyous celebration yet, despite the favorable circumstances.

“You don’t celebrate,” Stoll said. “We haven’t won anything.”