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McKenzie: Devils unable to capitalize on early opportunities

Bob McKenzie
6/5/2012 12:50:02 AM
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Some quick thoughts from the NHL on TSN panel on Monday night.

In the last five minutes of the first period of Monday night's Game 3 Stanley Cup Final, the New Jersey Devils had a chance to really get something going on the power play but they were not able to accomplish it.

Mike Richards was off, it was a 5-on-4 situation, and Ilya Kovalchuk hit a great one-timer that Jonathan Quick was able to save.

Immediately after that, Jeff Carter took a four minute double minor that set up a prolonged 5-on-3 and they couldn't get anything going. The Kings did a great job of winning a faceoff, blocking a shot and then two consecutive great opportunities by Zach Parise and Travis Zajac on the power play failed to yield what should have been a power play goal for the Devils.

In the game they went 0-for-6 on the power play, with more than eight minutes of power play time and they couldn't get a goal.

The Kings have killed 47 of their last 49 man-short situations.

Special teams were huge and in that last five minutes of the first period, if the Devils had scored a power play goal there, maybe this series would be different, but it's not.

A Star Is Born

Jonathan Quick has been really terrific in the post-season.

In the series against Phoenix, Quick started to look like a normal goaltender - very good, but maybe a normal netminder.

In the Stanley Cup Final, he has gone back to being absolutely stellar; making the big saves when it matters most.

To make that stop on David Clarkson and then have them go back down and score the goal that gave them the lead; that was a tremendous turning point.

Quick is proving why he is arguably the best goaltender in the game right now. He's been flawless. The two goals that beat him in this Stanley Cup Final have both been off deflections which he had no chance on.

Dean Lombardi has done a magnificent job of building the Los Angeles Kings. He deserves full credit, but he got a nice going away present from Dave Taylor, the former general manager, and Al Murray, the chief scout. They took Anze Kopitar 11th overall in 2005 and they took Quick 72nd overall.

It was a real tough decision to make at that draft that year; they didn't know whether to take Quick at 72nd or whether to go with Ben Bishop, who ended up in the St. Louis Blues organization. 

They left it to Brian Putnam, a U.S. hockey scout for them who now works for the Tampa Bay Lightning. They said, "You make the call."

That was history in the making right there, landing Kopitar and Quick in the 2005 draft, as they've been instrumental in this playoff run this year.

Bob McKenzie

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