- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 31, 2012

NEWARK, N.J. — The New Jersey Devils knew from the numbers that Los Angeles was deadly on the road. The Kings came into the Stanley Cup Final 8-0 away from Staples Center.

But Devils coach Peter DeBoer said he’d need to see the Kings up close to get a feel for what they bring. He got it and then some in Game 1 on Wednesday as Los Angeles won 2-1 in overtime.

“They played a good road game. They came out, they press you,” he said. “They don’t give you a lot of time and space. They’re big. They’re fast. They’ve got a good goalie.”

He called it a “pretty simple formula,” and it’s something Los Angeles perfected throughout this run as the eighth seed in the Western Conference. At 9-0, the Kings are one win away from tying the record for most road victories in one postseason.

“We won one on the road now,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter quipped after the game. “Season started today, tonight.”

Still, it’s an undeniable trend. Los Angeles relies on goaltender Jonathan Quick’s .948 road save percentage and has gotten goals from 15 different players.

One possible explanation is simple.

“I think we’ve outworked teams,” Quick said. “I think whoever wins this series is going to be the team that outworks the other.”

The Devils are no strangers to working hard, especially the fourth line of Ryan Carter, Stephen Gionta and Steve Bernier. But Los Angeles’ trio of Brad Richardson, Colin Fraser and Jordan Nolan epitomized in Game 1 why the Kings have ruled the road. They provided energy and even produced a goal.

“It seems like we came out a little slower than we wanted to. The way they came out and established the forecheck and had some cycles in their zone gave us a huge boost,” said L.A. star Anze Kopitar, who scored the winning goal. “They probably had one of the best games in the playoffs so far.”

Many Kings thought it was their worst game of the postseason, and still it was enough to move to 7-0 in Games 1 and 2 on the road.

Kopitar credited the road success to everyone contributing.

“Every time you get on the road, you need a team effort. It showed again,” he said. “We had four lines going, six ‘D.’ Jonathan was good in net for us again. We’ve got to continue doing that.”

If the Kings extend their road success, it could be a short series. According to Elias Sports Bureau, only five teams to fall behind 2-0 in the Cup Final came back to win, though it happened twice in the past three seasons.

That stat, along with the Kings’ perfect road record, is something players are trying to ignore.

“We don’t care about that right now, what the numbers are,” forward Jarret Stoll said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s 3-0, 40-0 on the road. The numbers don’t really matter right now. It’s just a whether or not we come out with a victory and find a way to win.”

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