Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/07/12 at 11:20 AM ET
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Put the coronation on hold - for three nights anyway. One win away from their first Stanley Cup championship in 45 years, the Los Angeles Kings couldn’t close the deal Wednesday night, falling 3-1 to a New Jersey Devils team that had nothing to lose and were finally rewarded for some hard luck and bad bounces endured earlier in the series.
The Stanley Cup was in the house, with curator Phil Pritchard pushing it into the Staples Centre, with the game still scoreless in the third period. The players’ families were marshaling in the city, visiting from all across North America. The champagne was on ice, the commemorative T-shirts and hats, manufactured and ready for distribution. On the morning of the game, the players talked about how difficult it was to maintain the necessary focus, and it certainly showed for a while. It was a listless start for both teams, jangly nerves and jitters not previously associated with the Kings in these playoffs on display early.
Considering all that - and the fact that in the midst of a near perfect post-season the Kings had twice previously stumbled in Game 4, after getting an opponent on the ropes - it probably wasn’t all that surprising that they had a big fat slip on the banana peel.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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