The Los Angeles Kings can take an early stranglehold on the NHL Finals with a Game 2 win at the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.
The action will start at 8:00 p.m. (ET) from the Prudential Center in Newark. The updated odds have the Devils as 110 favorites. The total is 4½ on the Don Best odds screen, and the ‘over’ is priced at -115.
The storyline for this game is simple. Can the Kings win on the road again after starting a record-breaking 9-0 away this postseason? They have been absolutely remarkable for a No. 8 seed and already have home ice advantage after a 2-1 overtime win in Wednesday’s opener.
Getting down to brass tacks for Game 2, the Devils simply have to win this game. Don Best Sports analyst Brian Blessing still believes this will be a long series and that New Jersey has value at the current +250 series odds (Kings -300).
Both teams struggled in the first game and while folks out in Southern California are already making plans for the ticker tape parade, it’s too early for that talk with both squads evenly matched.
New Jersey does have experience losing a Game 1 in these playoffs, having it happen the last two series against the Flyers and Rangers. The Flyers series was followed by four straight wins after the initial defeat.
New Jersey does have to find a way to solve goaltender Jonathan Quick. There is a learning curve as he doesn’t get beat down low often. The Devils’ 17 total shots from the opener won’t cut it again and they must get pucks to the net as opposed to being too cute with the extra pass.
Both captains show great leadership with Los Angeles’ Dustin Brown and New Jersey’s Zach Parise. Blessing thinks Parise is going to have a big game on Saturday, motivated even more by his impending free agency. Goaltender Marty Brodeur should win the Conn Smythe Trophy if the Devils win the whole thing, but Parise has been the clear-cut leader.
Blessing touted the Devils’ fourth line as a key before the series, but the Kings outplayed them in that area in Game 1. New Jersey has to do a better job of controlling play and not getting flustered by the Kings forecheck.
The Kings had the puck most of the opener and that can’t happen again if New Jersey wants a different result.
Game 3 will be in Los Angeles on Monday with just one day rest, after strangely having two days off before Game 2.