It's closing time.
The Kings know it. The New Jersey Devils know it.
The question is, do the Kings take a spin with the Stanley Cup on Wednesday night or at some point in the next week? But coronation day is coming with the Kings up, 3-0, in the Cup Final.
"The last one is the hardest," Kings forward Jarret Stoll said.
Nothing has seemed too difficult for the Kings so far.
The season began in October, but this amazing run started after giving two goals in the last four minutes in a 4-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on March 9. The Kings are 24-4-3 since, including a 15-2 record in the playoffs.
"The response to that game over a two-week period really showed me a lot," General Manager Dean Lombardi said. "We really came together as a team. You could see it in the room. Guys got really close."
Mike Richards' shootout goal gave the Kings a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks two nights after the Detroit loss. The Kings were off and skating, winning six consecutive games, five against teams that made the playoffs.
"That, in its own, was playoff experience," Lombardi said.
New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur tried to hum a merry tune after a 4-0 loss to the Kings on Monday, but it was a bit off key.
"It's not the best situation, probably the worst situation to be in," Brodeur said. "Actually, it is the worst situation we could be in."
One team has rallied from a 3-0 series deficit in the Stanley Cup Final, the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1942. There have been 24 other teams that took a 3-0 lead in the Final and took home the Cup. So there was nothing to do but trot out some standard creek-no-paddle-type chatter.
"You can't look at the big picture for us right now," forward Zach Parise. "We have to get this thing back to New Jersey and see what happens."
The Devils were still adamant that the Kings first goal Monday should not have been allowed. Alec Martinez poked the puck into the net, but Brodeur felt he had it covered and play should have been whistled dead.
"I think it's pretty evident to me after re-looking at it that it shouldn't have counted," Coach Peter DeBoer said.
Brodeur was asked whether he got an explanation from the referee.
"It was kind of hard, especially with some of the words I told him," Brodeur said. "I don't think I was going to get an answer back anyway."
DeBoer hinted that 35-year-old Petr Sykora might be on the ice in Game 4. Sykora has not played since May 19 against the New York Rangers.
"He's a guy that doesn't need a lot of looks to stick one in the net," DeBoer said. "That's what he does best."
For the record
Edmonton holds the best single-season Stanley Cup playoff record. The Oilers were 16-2 in 1988. The Kings tie that mark with a victory Wednesday.
Bob Miller and Jim Fox air it out
For many Kings fans the joy of being one victory away from the team's first Stanley Cup championship is incomplete because they haven't been able to hear the play-by-play call and analysis of announcers Bob Miller and Jim Fox, who were relegated to the sidelines after the first round because of the exclusivity clause in the NHL's television deal with NBC.
Club executives have been working on a solution that would respect complicated broadcast rights issues involving the league and NBC and also allow fans to hear Miller and Fox describe a possible Cup triumph.
Mike Altieri, vice president of communications and broadcasting for AEG Sports, said that starting Wednesday — the team's first chance to win the Stanley Cup, and going forward if the Cup Final continues past Game 4 — Miller and Fox will record a call of each game.
"Just so that we have it at the very least," Altieri said Tuesday. "There are a lot of rights issues and we will figure out a way how fans will be able to consume it."
Among the possibilities are playing the duo's call on the team website after enough time has lapsed so no one's broadcast rights are violated, or creating a DVD that would incorporate their call and could be sold to the public.
Game on NBCSN
Game 4 will be aired on NBC Sports Network. A tweet late Monday from the team's official Twitter account said the game had been moved to NBC but that's not true and a correction was later tweeted.
Times staff writer Helene Elliott contributed to this report.