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BASKETBALL > LA one win away from Stanley Cup

LOS ANGELES - Agence France-Presse

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Jonathan Quick made 22 saves for his third shutout of the postseason as the Los Angeles Kings moved one step closer to their first Stanley Cup in history with a 4-0 win over New Jersey on June 4.

Anze Kopitar, Alec Martinez, Jeff Carter and Justin Williams scored for the Kings, who now have a commanding 3-0 lead and a stranglehold on the series.

“You need outstanding goaltending to win playoff games. He has given us that,” said Kings coach Darryl Sutter of Quick.

Kopitar, of Slovenia, also scored the game winner in overtime in game one and has been the top forward for Los Angeles throughout the playoffs.

The Kings can win their first NHL championship in their 45-year history with a victory in game four Wednesday at Staples Center arena.

The eighth seeded Kings are making their second appearance in the Stanley Cup finals. They played the role of giant killers to reach these 2012 finals, knocking off the West’s top three seeds -- Vancouver, St. Louis and Phoenix.

The Kings overtime hero in game two, Carter, scored in the third period Monday to make it 3-0 in front of a crowd of 18,764.

Williams completely undressed New Jersey defenceman Mark Fayne on the fourth Kings’ goal halfway through the third. Williams drove to the net, hesitated, and then slipped past Fayne before taking a shot that Martin Brodeur stopped. But Williams was able to get his own rebound and score.
For the second game in a row the Devils controlled the play in the first period, but Quick blunted their attack, making key saves at the right time.

With Quick on his game, the Kings slowly started to seize control of the pace and tempo of the game in the second.

Anemic powerplay

Once again, New Jersey’s undoing was their anemic powerplay. The Devils had a five on three powerplay in the first period and had several good opportunities but didn’t score. They then had a minute and a half of man advantage at the end of the second but failed to even get a shot on Quick. They are now zero-for-12 on the powerplay against the Kings in the first three games.

Los Angeles scored on both their powerplays in game three. “Penalty killing was a huge factor,” Sutter said. “It is hard to believe our team has drawn the most penalties.” The Devils have an improbable task in front of them. The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs are the only team in NHL history to come back from a 3-0 deficit to win the Stanley Cup final.

June/06/2012

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