After Saturday night's 2-1 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings, the New Jersey Devils are obviously in trouble. Heading to the West coast trailing 2-0, this is looking like it could very well be a quick series.
Or maybe better said, it could be a Quick series, as in Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick.
For a second consecutive contest, the netminder appears to be squarely inside the heads of the Devils' shooters. Just as it was obvious that New Jersey was shooting high in Game 1, Game 2 saw another trend.
Unlike the first game's meager shot total of 17, Game 2 saw a much more concerted offensive attack. N.J. sent 30 shots towards the Kings' goal through regulation time, and three more in the overtime period.
But for the number of shots they were able to get on Quick, there were many other quality opportunities that were passed up. With the puck on their stick and a lane with which to shoot, Devils' skaters instead tried to pass to teammates passing the crease in hopes of a deflection or an open net tip-in.
There was a perfect example of just what New Jersey was attempting while the team was shorthanded in the second period. After decking the defender to the ice and cutting to the slot, Travis Zajac had a golden opportunity, but instead tried a pass to Zach Parise at the left side of Quick, which was just a hair off connecting.
It would seem that New Jersey players feel that Quick cannot be beaten cleanly by simply shooting the puck. It seems they believe it will take something extra special to beat the red-hot back stop.
Trailing 1-0 on a spectacular first period end-to-end rush by defenseman Drew Doughty's goal heading into the third period, head coach Peter DeBoer shook things up by juggling his lines.
"We decided at the end of two periods to shuffle some lines," DeBoer said after the game. "It wasn't necessarily to put those three together (Ilya Kovalchuk, Zajac and Parise), that was part of it. But we mixed it up and got (Patrik) Elias, (Dainius) Zubrus and (Adam) Henrique together. I like how they played. It was just a shot in the arm to try to find a goal."
It didn't take long for the moves to pay off, as the fourth line came through with a goal -- much like they have many times throughout these playoffs -- when Ryan Carter tipped a Marek Zidlicky point shot by Quick just 2:59 into the frame.
But that would be all the Devils would be able to muster offensively the rest of the way, as Jeff Carter snapped a wrist shot past Martin Brodeur on a Dustin Penner screen 13:42 into overtime to give Los Angeles their second consecutive 2-1 victory -- the first time a Stanley Cup Final has had the first two contests head to extra time since 1951, when the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs did the same -- and a record-tying 10th straight road victory.
"We haven't scored enough, obviously," DeBoer added. And when it all comes down to it, that's the most important thing.
The Devils -- struggling to find the net while their best goal-scorer, Kovalchuk, is obviously battling some sort of physical malady (likely his back) -- will have to find a way to put more pucks in the Kings' net as they head out to Los Angeles, and they will have to figure it out -- Quickly.