The return of STAT BOX STORIES continues today with Game 2 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals using NHL 12! In yesterday’s Game 1 entry, the Los Angeles Kings took a 1-0 series lead thanks to an overtime win against the New Jersey Devils on the road. Can New Jersey even up the series before the venue shifts to Los Angeles, or will the Kings be bringing home a 2-0 lead in their quest to take home the franchise’s first Stanley Cup?
After an early start to the scoring in Game 1, there was—comparatively speaking—a real drought through the first two periods of Game 2. Each team managed to put 7 shots on goal in the opening period but the dueling goaltenders—Jonathan Quick of LA and Martin Brodeur of NJ—managed to hold strong and prevent anything from getting past them. In the middle period, the Devils took a stranglehold on offense, putting 6 shots on goal compared to the Kings’ lone shot.
In truth, the most excitement through two periods came in a fight between Mike Richards of the Kings and David Clarkson of the Devils which was started after Richards was whistled for a tripping penalty. Clarkson handily took the victory in the fight, energizing the home crowd, but New Jersey was unable to take advantage on the subsequent power play from Richards’ initial tripping call.
With only 20 minutes left in regulation and another overtime seemingly on tap, Drew Doughty potted his second goal in as many games of the series just over 5 minutes into the period to quiet the sea of red-towel-waving fans at the Prudential Center.
Despite the team’s again matching one another’s offensive efforts with 7 shots each in the third period, only one more goal was scored after Doughty’s tally; an empty-netter from Mike Richards—atonement for his loss in the second period fight, perhaps—with just 13 seconds remaining in the game to cement the King’s 2-0 win in Game 2 and 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Despite being outshot 20-15, the Kings were once again backed by a solid performance from Jonathan Quick between the pipes as he picked up his first-ever Stanley Cup Finals shutout. Los Angeles led the hit parade between the two teams 20-6, trying to serve as enforcers on their way to a second straight road win. The Devils once again dominated time on attack—spending nearly three minutes longer on offense than the Kings—but proved unable to score, even with another power play opportunity passing without a special teams tally.
Quick once again received 1st Star of the game honors with 20 saves en route to a shutout victory, and Drew Doughty again ended up in the 2nd position thanks to his game-winning-goal early on in the final period. Mike Richards rounded out the 3 Stars of the Game thanks to his empty-netter to seal the game away.
Going into Game 2, the Devils had to know that inability to salvage at least one win at home to begin the series would put a serious hitch into their plans to take home another Stanley Cup for the franchise; their offensive display reflected a team aware of their situation, but they were once again stymied by the spectacular play of LA’s young netminder. Can New Jersey begin the process of digging themselves out of a 2-0 hole as the series shifts to the Staples Center in Los Angeles for Game 3? Come back to STAT BOX STORIES tomorrow to find out, as the Stanley Cup Finals playthrough using NHL 12 continues!