LOS ANGELES -- The L.A. Kings struck first in Game 3 on a goal in the second period from Alec Martinez, the first of his playoff career. It came just as the New Jersey Devils had strung together a few minutes of great pressure.
It also came with some controversy. Depending on who you talk to -- and we know how Martin Brodeur feels about it -- this puck should have been blown dead underneath Brodeur. It wasn't until the third or fourth attempt that Martinez pushed the puck past Brodeur for the 1-0 lead.
It definitely was a questionable call, a play that probably is blown dead more times than not. Obviously in this series, which hasn't been anywhere near as rife with goals as I expected, it was a huge call, especially since Jonathan Quick proved unbeatable. A 1-0 lead is tough for him to blow, let alone the 4-0 the Kings eventuall built.
But the Devils weren't thrilled with the call at all even after the game despite the four-goal loss.
"That's a momentum-changing call at the time," coach Peter DeBoer said. "I hope he's right. That's an awful big call if you're wrong.
"I mean, my opinion on it, as soon as you lose sight of the puck, the whistle's supposed to go. Even if you don't get it to your mouth, your intent is to blow it when you lose sight. Should be dead puck, so...
"I'd like to hear an explanation for it. I didn't get that opportunity."
It's one of those tough ones after the fact. You can look and say that it didn't really matter since the Kings won by four goals. However you can argue that it got the ball rolling and the first goal is always the biggest. Maybe the game plays out differently if the play is blown dead.
Probably not, judging how well the Kings have played this postseason. But you never can be sure.