- Dwight King scored on a deflection from a point shot by Jake Muzzin late in the 3rd period to give Los Angeles the lead that they would take to the end of the game.
- Patrik Elias’ return was a shot in the arm for the Devils on all fronts, but he failed to register a shot on goal and looked like he was at least one game away from getting his legs back under him.
- Corey Schneider put together a stellar effort despite another shortage of offensive support. But, tonight belonged to Ben Scrivens, who recorded a 26-save shutout, his second shutout triumph this year.
The Devils have something good going right now, putting up a record of 3-0-1 in their last 4 games before facing LA. Their defense has been suffocating and their goaltending has been among the league's best, no matter who is between the pipes. Their penalty kill is lights out, particularly at the Rock, where opponents have managed just one power play goal against the Devils (before tonight's empty-netter). So with all of this going so right for the team, their fans have just one question left... what is going on with the offense?
The Devils came into Friday night's game against the Kings and strong backup goaltender Ben Scrivens as one of the lowest scoring teams in the league, and the first few periods did little to change that. Great pressure and strong chances for New Jersey resulted in 18 shots and no goals through the first two. Things were even worse for the red and black in the third. Their legs were gone and their shots had dried up. Los Angeles used this to their advantage and turned up the pressure on New Jersey, wearing the Devils down until finally recording what would be the game-winning goal on a strong screen and beautiful deflection by Dwight King. A long empty-netter by Anze Kopitar sealed the deal and a regulation victory for the Kings.
The offense remains a problem for New Jersey. The first period was one to be proud of as Jersey's team thoroughly outplayed their opponents. They worked especially hard in the L.A. zone, creating chances and crashing the net. After that, things got ugly. The Devils were outhit by a wide margin and gave the puck away more than three times as much as Los Angeles.
That's not to say that there weren't any bright spots from the New Jersey front men. Jaromir Jagr, Adam Henrique and Danius Zubrus all put up strong efforts, and Andy Greene was a big playmaker tonight. Unfortunately, the Devils always seemed a step behind the play as countless pucks slid through the crease without anyone in red there to bury them.
The defense and goaltending were dominant. Cory Schneider did everything a goalie could do to win this game for his team, and the boys in front of him limited opportunities. One unfortunate stretch was their undoing, as the relentless Kings' attack at the end of the game lured two Devils D-men to the side of the goal leaving Dwight King uncontested in front of Schneider.
This kind of game can take the wind out of a team's sails. The Devils came in talking about giving Schneider some goal support, and then get blanked at home. With a lackluster third and an anemic power play to finish the game, the Devils left the ice with their heads hanging and the fans' frustrations ringing in their ears. It'll be a tough test for the team tomorrow night as New Jersey looks to pick themselves up and rise to the challenge against Pittsburgh. The Red and Black will need to play all three periods tomorrow like they did the first stanza tonight. Martin Brodeur will need to keep up his impressive streak of quality games, put the team back on track and make sure that they don't lose the momentum that they had built up over the previous four games.