NEWARK, N.J. -- Suddenly the New Jersey Devils are in a very bad spot.
They needed a better performance following their Game 1 loss, and on Saturday night they were able to get one. They looked like the Devils team that rolled through the second and third rounds of the Eastern Conference playoffs and played the type of game they didn't play on Wednesday.
They challenged Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. They were able to get pucks on the net. They created chances. Unfortunately for them, it still wasn't enough.
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For the second game in a row the Los Angeles Kings were able to get a 2-1 overtime win -- this time thanks to a Jeff Carter goal -- putting the Devils in a 2-0 hole as the series shifts back to Los Angeles next week.
"It's tough, but you can't feel sorry for yourself," said Devils coach Pete DeBoer after the game. "We played a much better game. I knew we would respond, we did the right way ... we came up one goal short."
And they were just inches away from getting that one goal, too.
With less than 20 seconds to play in regulation just before the game went to overtime, Ilya Kovalchuk fired a shot off the crossbar on a play that could give Devils fans nightmares for years if they're unable to win four of the next five games. They had their chances in overtime, even though none were as good as the look Kovalchuk had, but they weren't able to beat Quick.
Then with just over six minutes remaining in the first overtime period Carter was able to score his fifth goal of the postseason to give the Kings their 10th straight win on the road this postseason. He circled through the offensive zone and unleashed a quick wrist shot that found its way through traffic, beating Devils goalie Martin Brodeur and putting the Devils in a must-win situation for Game 3.
The frustrating thing for the Devils has to be how well they played and how little they had to show for it. They attempted over 57 percent of the shots on the night. After recording just 17 shots on goal in Game 1, they came back with 30 on Saturday night.
"We just played a much better game tonight," said DeBoer. "We spent more time in their end of the ice, got more shots through to the net, got more point shot. It wasn't an adjustment. That's our game. We just executed better tonight than we did Game 1."
But the results they needed (goals, and most importantly, a win) weren't there.
In the first two games, nearly 140 minutes hockey, they've managed to score just two goals. And one of them (their goal in Game 1) went in the net off of a Kings player.
While they've been slow starters in all of their previous matchups this postseason, losing the first game in three of their four series, they've yet to be down 2-0. And they've never had to come back against a buzzsaw like the Kings currently are. Especially when Los Angeles hasn't evern really played its best game of the series yet.
"Tonight was heavy lifting," said Kings coach Darryl Sutter. "It was along the boards. Their defense are coming down. Quite honest, for probably a good part of two periods, they were controlling that part of the boards.
"Hey, you know what," added Sutter. "We'll have our work cut out going home."
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