The Los Angeles Kings are just one win away from their first Stanley Cup title in franchise history. They host the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday with a series sweep a good possibility.
The puck will drop at 8:00 p.m. (ET) from Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Kings are 185 home favorites in the closeout situation with a total of 4½ (‘under’ -115) on the Don Best odds screen.
There are a myriad of reasons why the Kings are up 3-0, with the series likely over, but that doesn’t mean Game 4 is a foregone conclusion. The Devils are a prideful team, and the Kings have failed to win at home up 3-0 twice in these playoffs; the first round against Vancouver and the conference finals against Phoenix.
Don Best Hockey analyst Benjie C. also points out that New Jersey has never been swept in a playoff series.
What isn’t up for debate is the roll Los Angeles is on. The first two wins in New Jersey were fortunate (2-1 OT each), but Monday’s 4-0 home drubbing appears to be the proverbial nail in the coffin, at least for the series. The anemic Kings’ power play even got untracked by going 2-for-2.
New Jersey will need a turnaround in special teams to have a shot on Wednesday. The Devils were outhit badly last game (55-32) and the big guns of Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk and Adam Henrique are pointless in the three games.
The Devils will be looking for inspiration from the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, the only team to rally from a 3-0 deficit in the Finals.
The Kings will be looking to make history with another win. That would make them 16-2 overall in the playoffs and a record-setting 10-0 away. The fact they’re a No. 8 seed would make it even more incredible.
Coach Darryl Sutter did make a bold move by activating Simon Gagne (concussion) for Game 3 even though he hadn’t played since the day after Christmas. The move was solely designed to get Gagne’s name on the Cup if the team wins.
The Kings obviously want to wrap up this series on Wednesday and not travel back to the East Coast for a Game 5 on Saturday. Not only do they want to celebrate their first title in front of the home fans, but they also don’t want to jeopardize that perfect road record.
Get ready for an exciting contest either way and stay tuned to Don Best for further NHL updates until the champion is finally crowned.