NEWARK, N.J. – The Los Angeles Kings keep changing the record book with every road game they win.
Already the owners of the longest road-winning streak in one post-season and the mark for the most consecutive away wins over multiple seasons, the Western Conference champions now have a share for the most road victories in a single playoff year.
With their second straight 2-1 overtime victory against the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup finals, the Kings improved to 10-0 on the road in these playoffs. The 10 road wins in one playoff year matches the mark set by the 1995 Devils and duplicated by New Jersey in 2000, and Calgary in 2004—a team led by current Kings coach Darryl Sutter.
The Kings extended their records with 10 consecutive road playoff victories this year and 12, dating to last year.
“Tonight was heavy lifting,” Sutter said. “We’ll have our work cut out going home. We’ve got to go home. We’ve got to play at home. I’d hate to say that we went undefeated on the road.”
JETTING AWAY: The days of the New Jersey Devils taking a short trip down the turnpike to Philadelphia or a quick jump across the river to New York for their road playoff games are over.
Now, trailing 2-0 to the Kings after a pair of home losses in the Stanley Cup finals, the Devils will have to hop on a plane for the first time since they knocked out the Florida Panthers in Game 7 of the first round on May 26.
And this isn’t just any trip, it is a cross-country jaunt to Los Angeles to try to rescue their season. If the Devils don’t win at least one of the next two games, they will have to endure the disappointment of being swept out of the finals.
New Jersey captain Zach Parise chuckled when he was reminded that it’s been more than a month since the Devils had to fly anywhere, but he wasn’t fazed by the prospect.
“We don’t mind flying,” he said matter of factly.
But 40-year-old goalie Martin Brodeur, who still has hopes of winning his fourth Stanley Cup title hardly seemed to be looking forward to the trip.
“It’s a little far,” he said after the 2-1 overtime loss in Game 2 on Saturday night. “I wish it could be a little closer.”
SITTING AROUND: After five days in New Jersey, the Los Angeles Kings had only one game of the Stanley Cup finals under their belts.
That finally changed Saturday night when they got back on the ice, won their second straight overtime decision over the Devils, and grabbed a 2-0 series lead that they will take home.
Having time to kill is nothing new for the Kings during this post-season, but they aren’t usually on the road for their down time.
“We’ve had this a lot, actually, back in the early series, just because of the Staples Center scheduling with the Clippers and Lakers being in it,” Kings captain Dustin Brown said before the 2-1 win in Game 2. “We had a lot of two days in between, so we’re used to it. It’s a little more difficult maybe sitting around when you’re not at home. But it’s part of it.”
New Jersey had four days off between its Game 6 win over the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference finals and the Cup opener on Wednesday.
“I don’t think it’s a perfect scenario, all the days off,” Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. “I don’t think anyone enjoys that. You want to play. You get to this point, as coaches you get tired at looking at tape, analyzing. You analyze it to death. From a player’s perspective, they have that nervous energy. The only release is dropping the puck and playing.”
GAME 2 KARMA: The New Jersey Devils missed a chance to turn history on their side Saturday night when they dropped Game 2 in overtime to the Los Angeles Kings and fell into a 2-0 deficit in the Stanley Cup finals.
Teams that win Game 2 of the finals have gone on to capture the Cup 54 times in 72 years (75 per cent) since the series went to a best-of-seven format in 1939, including eight of the past nine times. The only team since 2002 to disrupt that chain was the Boston Bruins, who rallied from an 0-2 hole last year to beat Vancouver.
Road teams that win the first two games of the finals are 11-2, but visiting teams that split Games 1 and 2, are only 7-16. The last team to claim the Stanley Cup after going 1-1 on the road to open the series was the 1986 Montreal Canadiens against Calgary.
HOCKEY ON NO-NO: Devils forward David Clarkson spent part of Friday night watching the Toronto Blue Jays play the Boston Red Sox on television, but he did see the end of Johan Santana’s no-hitter for the New York Mets, the first in the club’s history.
“I caught the tail end, when he closed it out,” Clarkson said Saturday. “That was pretty special. It was pretty cool to see his teammates’ reactions. That’s what I loved about it, seeing the expressions on his face, and his teammates were so happy for him. The guys on the bench were all hanging over the rail.”
Devils rookie Adam Henrique politely said it wasn’t time for baseball.
“There’s a lot more baseball to watch after the season,” Henrique said.
EXTRA TIME: The Kings are 4-0 in overtime in this year’s playoffs, with four players netting the winning goals. Los Angeles’ 2-1 win over New Jersey in Game 2 of the finals on Saturday night was the 25th overtime game in the 2012 playoffs, three shy of the record set in 1993. … Road teams have won 13 of the past 16 overtime games in the finals and 18-5 since 1990. … For the first time in 61 years, Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup finals were decided in overtime. In 1951, all five games of the series between Toronto and Montreal went to overtime.
AP Sports Writer Tom Canavan contributed to this report.