Here are three things you need to know about Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final between the New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center on Monday. The Kings won their ninth and 10 in a row on the road with back-to-back 2-1 wins in overtime in New Jersey last week to snatch a 2-0 series lead.
The Kings have been in this position before
Returning home for Game 3 with a 2-0 lead is old hat for the Kings. This is the fourth consecutive series Los Angeles produced back-to-back road wins to open a round, and in the previous three occasions they followed suit with a win at home.
In the first round Kings goalie Jonathan Quick shutout the Vancouver Canucks 1-0 in Game 3. Los Angeles beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 in Game 3 en route to their second round sweep. In the West final, the Kings went up 3-0 with a hard-fought 2-1 victory at home over the Phoenix Coyotes.
No changes for New Jersey, but Gagne in for the Kings
There was a temptation for Devils head coach Peter DeBoer to add to the lineup for Game 3 either veteran forward Petr Sykora or defenceman Henrik Tallinder, who has been out since he suffered a blood clot on Jan. 17. But the Devils will not make any changes for their first game outside the Eastern time zone since a three-game swing through Western Canada that concluded with a 2-1 win in Winnipeg on Jan. 14.
The Kings, on the other hand, will insert valuable forward Simon Gagne in favour of fourth-line left wing Brad Richardson. Gagne has not played since he suffered a concussion on Dec. 26 and has plenty of playoff experience, having gone to the final with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010 and the East final with the Tampa Bay Lightning last spring.
Gretzky plans to make Staples Center appearance
Even Wayne Gretzky has jumped on the Kings bandwagon. No. 99 plans to attend Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final. Of course, he pushed the Kings into their only previous visit to the Stanley Cup final in 1993, when they lost in five games to Patrick Roy and the Montreal Canadiens.
Gretzky played on the 1987-88 Edmonton Oilers that went 16-2 in their skate to the Stanley Cup, the playoff record the Kings could duplicate this spring with wins at home this week.
With the exception of a few interviews, Gretzky has been rather silent during the Kings unexpected playoff run. He certainly did not want to take sides when his old team met the Coyotes in the West final because as Phoenix's former coach he had ties to both clubs.
Devils projected forward lines
Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Patrik Elias - Jacob Josefson - David Clarkson
Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier
Starting goalie: Martin Brodeur
Kings projected forward lines
Dustin Brown - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dustin Penner - Mike Richards - Jeff Carter
Dwight King - Jarret Stoll - Trevor Lewis
Simon Gagne - Colin Fraser - Jordan Nolan
Starting goalie: Jonathan Quick
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