Monday would have been a nice day for a parade in Los Angeles where temps are expected to be in the low-to-mid 70s and only a few clouds to interrupt an otherwise sunny day.
Instead of a day spent in celebration, Los Angeles Kings fans will spend the day in nervous anticipation of Game 6 as the Stanley Cup Finals heads back west to Tinseltown for an 8:20 p.m. (ET) drop of the puck at Staples Center. The Don Best odds has the Kings 165-170 favorites vs. the New Jersey Devils, and what has become the standard 4½-goal total is priced a little heavier to the 'under.'
Those interested in playing the puck line for Game 6 will find a +205 return on LA laying 1½ goals with New Jersey -245 getting the extra help.
Los Angeles' road magic came to a halt Saturday night in Newark where the Devils held on for a 2-1 victory in Game 5, turning what once seemed to be an insurmountable 3-0 lead for the Kings into a very tenuous 3-2 advantage. New Jersey's Zach Parise got off the schneid with his first goal of the finals for an early 1-0 lead; Bryce Salvador's tip-in a little more than halfway through the second period proved to be the game-winner for the Devils.
The loss ended an NHL-record string of 10 postseason victories on hostile ice for the Kings whose only goal game from Justin Williams a few minutes into the second to briefly knot the score. The final tally left the 'under' a perfect 5-0 in the finals, and 13-6 in LA's postseason run. The 'over' was 9-6 with three 'pushes' in New Jersey's playoff games before the finals got underway.
Though it wasn't the game-winner, Parise's goal in the first was huge for New Jersey. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick got caught out of position when Parise gained control of the puck behind the LA net, and the Devils captain managed to take advantage of the brief lapse on Quick's part.
Quick is having an outstanding postseason for the Kings with a 1.47 GAA and .946 save percentage, but that one play could ultimately come back to haunt Los Angeles and definitely provided a spark for the Devils on Saturday. The LA netminder will be counted on heavily to finally bring the franchise its first NHL championship with the Kings struggling for a second consecutive game against Quick's counterpart on the New Jersey end of the ice, Marty Brodeur.
Los Angeles won the shots on goal battle 26-19, but Brodeur only let one get by him for the second consecutive game. Brodeur's postseason stats include a 2.04 GAA and .922 save percentage.
One way or another, history is going to be made in this series as Los Angeles attempts to become the first No. 8 seed to hoist Lord Stanley's trophy and New Jersey hopes to become the first team in 70 years to win the Cup after losing the first three games. Should the Devils force a Game 7, it will be played Wednesday at New Jersey's Prudential Center.