Two things in red have been bedeviling the Kings of late: Martin Brodeur and the goalpost. After he allowed four goals in a Game 3 loss to the Kings, New Jersey’s goalie has now allowed only two goals in the last six periods. The Kings also hit a couple posts early in each game, and in each game, the lack of a break seemed to get to the Kings a bit. The Kings started pressing to create offensive chances, and the Devils also played a solid defensive game in front of Brodeur. Early on, they blocked a lot of shots that could have let to scoring chances. Later in the game, they did a more effective job of pushing the Kings to the outside in the offensive zone, which regularly let to long-range shots that were easily stopped or knocked away by Brodeur.
While this is nothing revolutionary, the Kings’ challenge will be to make things difficult directly in front of Brodeur. He’s outstanding, positionally, but the Kings can make things more difficult with traffic and deflections. Moreover, they need to not get frustrated if pucks don’t go in early. Hitting the post isn’t a bad thing. It’s an indication of how close a player really is to scoring, and Anze Kopitar knows the Kings can’t sulk if they don’t get the breaks right away.
KOPITAR: “Just stay with it, really. We’ve had some good chances. We’ve hit the post quite a bit of times, the last couple games. So, it’s just creating chances again and making sure that when we do create them, we have to finish them off.’’
Asked about Brodeur specifically, Kopitar said, “He’s playing well. He’s not one of the best goaltenders in the league for no reason. We have to find a way to beat him.’’ Drew Doughty and Dustin Brown also talked about generating more offense.
DOUGHTY: “(Brodeur is) a great goalie, there’s no secret, but I think right now, we’re making him look a lot better than we should be. … We’ve got to crash the net, and when we get those chances, we’ve got to bury them. We’re not getting the bounces right now. They’re hitting posts and whatnot, but we can’t be discouraged. We’ve just got to continue to battle and get more and more pucks to the net.’’
BROWN: “It’s a happy medium between shooting the puck and, you don’t want to just shoot the puck just to shoot the puck, because Brodeur is going to knock it down and maybe even move it, and get you trapped. But I think we need to shoot more. We also need to be better at getting our shots through. They had quite a few blocked shots. I’m not sure of the number, but we had some grade-A opportunities that got blocked. It’s not an easy thing, to get through, but we have to find a way.’’