The New Jersey Devils went 0-for-6 on the power play through the first two games of the 2012 Stanley Cup finals, prompting Ilya Kovalchuk to call it embarrassing. The Los Angeles Kings didn’t help them save face in Game 3, either, making them go 0-for-6 in that game itself, with the most memorable span coming when they killed off a big 5-on-3 chance when it was 0-0.
While Darryl Sutter credited the Kings’ penalty kill as a whole, Drew Doughty simply told John Hoven about the turning point of Game 3:
“The 5-on-3 PK did it,” Doughty said.
Devils coach Peter DeBoer essentially agreed when asked if that sequence was “the difference.”
“Yeah, I mean sure,” DeBoer said. “We need to get the first goal out, absolutely. We had some power play opportunities there. We need to score one. Credit to them. You know, their goalie made some big saves early. We couldn’t get one.”
DeBoer discussed the mounting frustration of dealing with the Kings’ PK.
“The frustrating part is you’re creating some quality chances, you’re getting some quality shots and they’re not going in,” DeBoer said. “Again, you have to handle that frustration the right way.”
Although New Jersey received more power play opportunities in the series so far, it might be worth noting that the Kings didn’t score on the man advantage until late in Game 3. In some ways, that’s another tablespoon of salt in the Devils’ wounds, yet it also shows that PP dominance isn’t necessarily the catalyst for playoff success. (See also: the 2011 Boston Bruins.)
Still, Ilya Kovalchuk & Co. generated 12 power play goals through the first three rounds, so it’s clear that has been some part of their postseason success up until the Stanley Cup finals. The Devils have scored just two goals in these three games – again, none on the PP – so they need to find answers fast.
What would you do to try to solve the Kings’ PK puzzle, then?