New Jersey forward Patrik Elias clears the puck away from goalie Martin… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)
Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss the New Jersey Devils' chances of winning a game against the L.A. Kings in the Stanley Cup Final. The Kings lead the best-of-seven series, 3-0, and can close it out with a win Wednesday at Staples Center.
Check back throughout the day for more responses and join the conversation by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.
Lisa Dillman, Los Angeles Times
Wondering, actually, if Kings goalie Jonathan Quick will crack and allow another goal.
So far, it's been two in three games of the pressure-packed Stanley Cup Final against the New Jersey Devils.
The only time the Kings have faltered in the playoffs have been in elimination games, in Game 4 of the opening round against Vancouver and Game 4 of the Western Conference Final against the Coyotes. They did finish off the sweep of the Blues, at home in Los Angeles.
Having said all that, the signs point to a Kings sweep. They've been superb at absorbing early waves of pressure, patiently waiting to find a splinter in the Devils' defense and pouncing and finishing strongly. The Devils seem flustered on the power play, going 0 for 12 in three games, including squandering a minute of a five-on-three opportunity.
The only looming question: When Kings captain Dustin Brown gets handed the Cup, who does he hand it to? Quick or center Anze Kopitar?
[Updated at 11:15 p.m.:
Gary R. Blockus, Allentown Morning Call
Maybe 10 years ago when Martin Brodeur was still Martin Brodeur and a world-class goalie. Today, he’s just a good goalie, and that’s not good enough against the speed-infused, dazzling Kings.
Brodeur really isn’t the problem for the Devils. Problem No. 1 is Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick, whose 1.36 goals against average and .950 save percentage are the best the NHL has seen in the playoffs since 1939. The 26-year-old Quick is 15-2 in the playoffs for the Western Conference’s No. 8 seed.
Problem No. 2 in the Devils' chance to bring the series back to Newark is the number of former Philadelphia Flyers who developed a hatred for the Devils and their Hall of Fame goalie. Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were sent packing by the Flyers after last season's playoffs. They join former Flyers Simon Gagne and Justin Williams. Winning the Cup against the rival Devils will be even sweeter for them, especially after being discarded in Philly.
Harvey Fialkov, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Of course the Devils can win Game 4 to avoid a sweep to the rampaging, 15-2 Los Angeles Kings, but will they? That's another matter. Perhaps, if iconic goalie Martin Brodeur can sip from the Fountain of Youth one more time or if their comatose 0-for-12 power play can locate an electrical outlet to find a pulse.
Maybe Devils Coach Pete DeBoer could cast a spell on Kings goalie Jonathan 'Conn Smythe' Quick, who has given up two goals on 72 shots this series, and place Zac Efron or better yet, Roberto Luongo, inside his body.
But unless Dustin Penner and captain Dustin Brown morph into Dustin Hoffman, or the Devils $100-million bust, Ilya Kovalchuk, suddenly turns his zero points into goals, fuhgetaboutit Joisey. Crown the Kings with their first-ever Lord Stanley Cup.]
[Updated at 12:56 p.m.:
Chris Kuc, Chicago Tribune
The 2012 Stanley Cup Finals are turning out to be a Hollywood remake of the bad 1995 Western movie "The Quick and the Dead."
In this version, the Quick is Kings goaltender Jonathan, who has continued his dominating postseason run through the first three games of the series, and the Dead are the Devils' chances.
New Jersey has the ability to win a game before the Kings are crowned champions of the NHL, but it won’t. Quick and his cohorts are clicking on all cylinders. In addition to the netminder's acrobatics, Los Angeles is rolling four lines and playing stingy on the back end. Throw in a compete level that overshadows the Devils' and that’s the script for a series sweep.
Whenever venerable veteran Martin Brodeur is in goal -- especially in the playoffs -- the Devils have a chance, but they squandered opportunities in the first two games of the best-of-seven when they fell in overtime. A bounce in a difference direction that ultimately would have led to getting a puck by Quick and things would be a whole lot different. Instead, the Devils are facing a fate not seen in Hollywood since "Titanic" hit the big screen.]