Newark, NJ – The second game of the Stanley Cup Finals featured the same score as the opener but a different hero emerged.
Jeff Carter scored with 6:18 remaining in overtime, moving the Los Angeles Kings closer to their first championship in franchise history with another 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.
Carter potted the game-winner on a marvelous individual effort. Skating down the right wing, Carter, who only notched one empty-net goal in the 2010 Cup Finals with a Philadelphia Flyers team that lost to the Chicago Blackhawks, threw the puck into the crease. After circling behind the New Jersey net, Carter gathered the puck again, moved into the high slot and fired a low wrister past Martin Brodeur's right shoulder and inside the left post.
"It's a huge [goal]. It's a big one for the team," Carter said. "Gets us a two-game lead here. Gets us where we wanted to be coming in here."
It marks the first time in 61 years that Games 1 and 2 of the Cup Finals were decided beyond regulation. Anze Kopitar beat Brodeur on a breakaway in the extra frame on Wednesday.
The Kings will look to grab a commanding 3-0 series lead Monday at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Jonathan Quick made 32 saves for the Kings, who have won all 10 of their road playoff games this year and 12 in a row dating to last postseason. Both streaks are NHL records.
Ryan Carter supplied the lone goal for New Jersey, while Brodeur stopped 30 shots.
"It's tough. But you can't feel sorry for yourself," said Devils head coach Peter DeBoer. "We played a much better game. I knew we would respond. We did it the right way. Came up one goal short."
Down 1-0, the Devils came out strong to begin the third period and their potent fourth line finally put a puck behind Quick.
Steve Bernier sent a pass off the right-wing boards that was one-timed at the point by Marek Zidlicky. Carter was positioned between the circles and redirected the drive inside the left post and past Quick at the 2:59 mark.
The triumvirate of Carter, Bernier and Stephen Gionta were an unlikely source of offense in the Eastern Conference finals against the New York Rangers, combining for nine points and a plus-9 rating.
With 3:05 left in regulation, New Jersey forward Dainius Zubrus committed an interference penalty off an offensive-zone draw. However, the power play was negated 51 seconds later when Drew Doughty, the Kings' other goal-scorer, was called for hooking after the Devils' penalty-killing unit forced a turnover at the right point.
The Devils came so close to breaking the tie in the waning seconds, but Ilya Kovalchuk fired a shot off the crossbar.
New Jersey looked to immediately establish its forecheck after the game's opening faceoff and the early pressure around the Los Angeles crease led to Kings defenseman Matt Greene cross-checking Carter. Moments before the penalty, Quick turned away Gionta's left-circle drive.
The best opportunity on the power play belonged to the Kings, with Brodeur repelling a right-wing bid from Trevor Lewis on a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush.
Doughty skated end-to-end and beat Brodeur to the blocker side with a wrister from the right circle at the 7:49 mark of the first period, giving Los Angeles a 1-0 lead.
"I just saw some ice in front of me," Doughty said. "Decided to skate with the puck. I don't know who the D-man was, but I tried to use him as a screen. Marty has that quick glove so I went blocker side."
Seven seconds after the goal, the Devils went back on a power play when Kings blueliner Willie Mitchell was whistled for cross-checking. Quick made a left arm save on Patrik Elias on the ensuing man-advantage to preserve the lead.
The teams traded early chances in a scoreless second period. New Jersey rookie Adam Henrique created a turnover in the Los Angeles zone and it led to a quality opportunity in the slot by defenseman Anton Volchenkov at 2:13.
Shortly after Quick's brilliant stop, Brodeur snagged a high shot by winger Justin Williams on an odd-man rush.
Los Angeles received its first power play after a strong shift in the Devils' end. Rearguard Andy Greene tripped Jeff Carter, but like the Kings in the first period, New Jersey wound up with a prime scoring chance. Driving hard to the net, captain Zach Parise tipped a left-wing feed from Travis Zajac wide of the right post.
Doughty tied the club record for points by a defenseman in a single playoff year with 12. Steve Duchesne set the mark in 1991 and it was matched by Alexei Zhitnik two years later...The Kings tied the NHL record for the most road wins in one postseason...Los Angeles surrendered a goal after the second intermission for the first time since Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals against St. Louis...The Kings have played seven Stanley Cup Finals games in franchise history and five have been decided in overtime.