Zach Parise scored a power-play goal and Bryce Salvador added another on a lucky bounce as New Jersey staved off elimination on Saturday, beating the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 in the Stanley Cup Final.
New Jersey spoiled the Kings’ second attempt to clinch the title after losing the first three games. The Devils now trail the series 3-2, but they can level it with a win in Game 6 today in Los Angeles.
“It is nice to contribute,” Parise said. “I thought we played well and fortunately something went in tonight. The bottom line is we won the game and now we go back to Los Angeles.”
Goaltender Martin Brodeur stopped 25 of 26 shots for the Devils, who also snapped the Kings’ playoff road winning streak at 10 games.
The Devils still have a mountain to climb to earn their fourth Stanley Cup. Only three teams have clambered out of a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series in NHL history.
Only one team has ever done it in the Stanley Cup Final. The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs rallied for four straight wins to defeat the Detroit Red Wings.
While the Devils looked slow and flatfooted in the first three games, they were the harder-working and speedier team for the first time in the series, winning battles for loose pucks along the boards and in front of goal.
The Kings hit the post several times in Game 5, but ultimately Brodeur’s experience won out over Jonathan Quick’s youthful exuberance.
“He won the game for us,” Parise said of Brodeur. “When we weren’t playing well he bailed us out so many times.”
Quick had seemed unbeatable for long stretches of this season’s playoffs, but he looked vulnerable from the outset of Game 5.
Devils’ forward Travis Zajac almost scored on a strange play halfway through the first period as he squeezed a shot through the legs of Quick.
The puck came out behind Quick spinning backwards away from the goal-line and was finally cleared out of harm’s way by a Kings defenseman.
Devils captain Parise opened the scoring not long after on a blunder by Quick.
Parise scored 12 minutes, 45 seconds into the first when Quick mishandled the puck at the side of his net. Quick came out of his crease and tried to clear it around the boards, but fanned on the shot and it was picked up on the other side of the net by Parise, who put it into the empty cage.
The Devils needed a strong game and they got it on Saturday from captain Parise, who had been missing in action through the first four games. It was Parise’s first point of the final series.
Salvador scored 9:05 into the second period for New Jersey. His long shot from the point deflected off the back of Kings’ defenseman Slava Voynov and off the far post into the net to make it 2-1.
Justin Williams scored the lone Kings goal.
“I think we’ve got to be much better with the puck. We threw it away too much,” Parise said.
The Kings had won all 10 of their road games in this season’s playoffs, including a pair of 2-1 over-time triumphs in the first two games of this series.
The Kings are seeking their first championship since entering the league as an expansion team in 1967. They are also trying to become the first eighth seed to win a Stanley Cup.