Stanley Cup Final in NHL 12 — New Jersey Devils @ Los Angeles Kings, Game 4

With a 3-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals here at STAT BOX STORIES, the Los Angeles Kings know that the Stanley Cup is in the building as they prepare for Game 4 at home against the New Jersey Devils.  The youth movement in Los Angeles is looking to achieve their goal of bringing home the Kings’ first-ever Stanley Cup; meanwhile, the Devils know that every game is now a must-win in order for them to bring the series back home to Newark and complete the unenviable task of winning 4 games in a row at the highest stage of competition.  Will the Cup be skated tonight?  Read on to find out!

To begin Game 4 of these Stanley Cup Finals, it would have seemed that the “Hockey Gods” were smiling on the fortune of the Kings and their fans who had a series sweep on their minds and visions of celebration awaiting them.  Just over a minute into the game, Martin Brodeur took a bad delay of game penalty for hastily clearing the puck into the stands in a situation eerily similar to the one which led to Dustin Brown’s game-winning goal in Game 3.  Given a man-advantage early in the game, however, Los Angeles did what these teams have been accustomed to doing on the power play in the series: nothing.

Just minutes later, the Kings were awarded a 4-minute power play when New Jersey’s Travis Zajac took a double-minor for high sticking.  Yet again, however, the Los Angeles attack could not come up with the breakthrough goal that would see them through to victory.  Despite holding an 11-5 advantage in shots, the game remained scoreless after one.

The second period was just as tense despite being uneventful, as the Kings outshot New Jersey 10-7 but neither team managed to get a goal on the board and no penalties were called.  As the second intermission drew to a close and the teams got back out on the ice for the third period, fans on both sides were becoming desperate for something to happen.

Just over two minutes into the third period, New Jersey finally got the break they needed.  An Ilya Kovalchuk blast from the top of the circle found its way past Jonathan Quick and the Devils were in the driver’s seat with a 1-0 lead.

Over the course of the period, it was easy to tell that Game 4 had more riding on it for New Jersey than it did for Los Angeles; the Devils outshot LA 13-4 in the period, and were able to celebrate once again when Dainius Zubrus tucked in a rebound from a Patrik Elias shot which eluded Quick and put New Jersey up 2-0 with less than three minutes to play.

As the game clock ticked down, Martin Brodeur was able to celebrate a shutout of his own; more importantly, however, the series would be heading back east as New Jersey cut the series margin to 3 games to 1 and at least salvaged some respect in the Cup Final.

The final shots ended up even with 25 per side, and hits were just about even as well.  The compared time on attack was the closest it had been in the series so far, while this time around it was Los Angeles who squandered 6 minutes of uninterrupted power play time in the process of taking the 2-0 loss.

Brodeur ended up taking 1st Star honors with his 25-save shutout, while Ilya Kovalchuk took 2nd with his game-winning goal early on in the third period.  Jonathan Quick made the 3 Stars of the Game for the fourth consecutive game in a losing effort, stopping 23 shots.

With the series headed back to New Jersey for Game 5, the momentum built up by Los Angeles over the course of three consecutive wins seems to be faltering somewhat.  Are the now-underdog Devils primed to push their way back from the brink and skate Lord Stanley’s cup on their home ice?  Or will the Kings see Game 4 as a mere speed bump on their way to a victory lap?  Come back to STAT BOX STORIES tomorrow to see what happens as the Prudential Center hosts Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals!

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