LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 4: A view inside the arena prior to the game between the New Jersey Devils and the Los Angeles Kings in Game Three of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 4, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images)

Fact File: Kings make history – again

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After two narrow wins in New Jersey, the Kings cruised to a 4-0 victory in Game 3 to take a commanding 3-0 series lead in the 2012 Stanley Cup finals.

Speaking of 3-0 series leads, Los Angeles has now taken one in every round of the playoffs. Since the NHL adopted it’s current playoff format in 1987, the Kings are the only team to have ever accomplished that feat.

Here are a few more facts to chew on:

— Believe it or not, this was New Jersey’s first game out of the Eastern Time Zone since Jan. 14. Maybe that was part of the problem…

— It’s finally happened! We finally got a non-Flyer atop the playoff goalscoring leaderboard when Anze Kopitar netted his eighth goal of the playoffs, tying Claude Giroux and Danny Briere for the NHL lead. Philadelphia’s playoff run ended on May 8.

— On a similar note: With an assist in Game 3, Drew Doughty now leads all blueliners with 13 points. He wrestled the top spot away from the New York Rangers’ Dan Girardi. The Rangers were eliminated in the Eastern Conference finals, but thanks to the Kings’ dominance, Doughty has actually played in three fewer games.

— Jeff Carter finally ended the series drought on power-play goals at 4:15 of the third period. Neither team netted a single goal with the man advantage in Games 1 and 2. Just how rare is that? As far as the Stanley Cup finals go, that’s just the third time it’s happened in 60 years. The last time it happened was in 1994 when the New York Rangers played the Vancouver Canucks.

— With 46 postseason road wins in total, we’re still tied for the NHL record. New Jersey will either break the record on Wednesday or the Los Angeles Kings will hoist the Cup.

— Neither team managed more than nine shots on goal in any period of this contest. Not including overtime, the New Jersey Devils are the only team to accumulate more than 10 shots on goal in a single period, doing it in the first and third frames of Game 2.

— The New Jersey Devils have not held the lead at any point during the Stanley Cup finals.

Devils unveil ‘The Salute’ statue in honor of Martin Brodeur

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The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.

“Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.

“That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”

More on the statue from the Devils:

The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.

Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov

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The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.

Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.

The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.

Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.

“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”

“You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.

“We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”

The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.

Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues

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In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.

After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.

The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.

— He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.

— From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.

— Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.

He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.

The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.

The Islanders also have a game in hand.

Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings

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The Florida Panthers will be without Aleksander Barkov for the remainder of their game versus the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

As per multiple reports, Barkov will not return due to an upper-body injury suffered after a hit from Justin Abdelkader early in the second period.

Abdelkader wasn’t given a penalty on the play. Barkov didn’t play another shift after that hit.

In 42 games this season, the 20-year-old Barkov has 16 goals and 35 points.