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Ilya Kovalchuk’s assessment of Devils PP: “embarrassing”

Jun 3, 2012, 12:24 AM EDT

kovalchuk Getty Images

The New Jersey Devils have received six power play opportunities to just three for the Los Angeles Kings, but it hasn’t been a difference-maker in the 2012 Stanley Cup finals. Ilya Kovalchuk didn’t beat around the bush when he gave his assessment of the team’s man advantage, either, as Dave Lozo reports that he called it “embarrassing.”

The Devils went 0-for-4 in Game 2 after going 0-for-2 in Game 1. To be fair to New Jersey, the Kings’ man advantage went empty handed in the first duo of contests as well, although they received half the chances.

Yet for Kovalchuk (five power play goals) and the Devils, a wilting PP is a much bigger concern than for LA. While the Kings have been just about as productive offensively on the penalty kill as they’ve been on the power play, the Devils scored three PP goals against the Rangers, four against the Flyers and five against the Panthers.

That might not sound like much, but it’s the third-most in the 2012 playoffs behind Philly (a ridiculous 15) and the Rangers (13). The thing is, New Jersey’s consistently been strong in other areas – aside from some PK hiccups against Florida – so that PP advantage transformed a good team into a dangerous squad.

As strong as John Tortorella’s shot-blocking PK system can be, perhaps the Kings are just a different animal than the Devils are used to. It might just come down to Los Angeles being that good.

Still, the Devils’ PP needs to get more done in a series where goals are incredibly tough to come by. Again, five of Kovalchuk’s seven playoff goals have come on the PP, so he probably feels the deficit the most.

So can Kovalchuk and the Devils turn that – and perhaps the series – around?

  1. rainyday56 - Jun 3, 2012 at 1:12 AM

    Two elite goaltenders, two teams that give nothing. It is up to the scorers to decide the series. Kovy must be a factor if the Devils have a chance to pull this out.

  2. manchestermiracle - Jun 3, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    The tone of this story mirrors all the others I’ve read outside of the L.A. area regarding the Kings: They’re just a bunch of lucky schmucks who are backing their way into a championship. “It might just come down to Los Angeles being that good.” Really? At what point did you figure that out? After this latest game? Apparently no one thinks the Western Conference is any damn good at all. The Kings have taken out the top three seeds in the West (including the team with the best record in the league) and now lead the Eastern Conference champ 2-0, but all I read is how the Devils are playing just awful. Maybe we’re watching two different series. Game 2 was a much better effort by the Devils and yet the result was the same as in game 1. Defense wins titles and the Kings have the best defense in the league. And it doesn’t hurt to have a couple of good forwards (certainly not as good as any of the ones in the East, of course). I’d like to thank the Devils for forgetting how to play hockey, because obviously they lost those two games, the Kings didn’t win them…

    • nicknyhc - Jun 3, 2012 at 1:59 AM

      I agree, but I don’t think its an East Vs. West favoritism issue. The NBC announcers/analysts have been hyping the Devils to no end since the Rangers/Devils series. Doc Emeric was the Devils announcer for years prior to doing national broadcasts. Its annoying how much NBC favors NJ.

      NJ plays a bs game. Half their offense revolves around interference hits on d-men and moving picks off faceoffs. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of embellishment (mainly Marty), but also guys like Bernier.

    • blomfeld - Jun 3, 2012 at 2:17 AM

      right on man ! … seriously ….

      • hiltonandastoria - Jun 3, 2012 at 10:50 AM

        We here in Canada don’t get bias with our coverage, unless its the Habs or Leafs.
        I change over to the American feed for a few seconds just to listen to amateur hour but always switch back quickly.

      • jimeejohnson - Jun 3, 2012 at 7:35 PM

        If you think you don’t get some kind of bias, I’ve got this bridge in Brooklyn to sell you! You probably don’t like South Park, either.

  3. blomfeld - Jun 3, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    “NOW HEAR THIS” all LA Kings fans …

    Kovalchuk is the best they’ve got … yet tonight, this apathetic “bourgiouse” parasite gave it his all and it still wasn’t enough … Jonathan, Drew, Willie and friends sure made sure of that, eh ? The bottom line is that we now go home to play on ground of “our” choosing. I can now honestly see the Devil’s net getting lighted up in games three and four like some cheap “Made in China” Christmas tree ! … these are “good times” friends !

    GO KINGS GO FOREVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. blindandhappy - Jun 3, 2012 at 8:34 AM

    Are you guys blind, in what sense have the Devils been favored? Because I have heard more about brown than parise more quick than brodeur… The only reason there’s been more kov than anyone is because he’s a non factor…anyone watching this game can realize with the amount of quality chances the Devils get this series could easily been 2-0 the other way..they’ve missed the net 15+ times in each game not to mention the countless ‘open net’ opportunities…I wouldn’t be so quick to count the Devils out. Deboer is a great coach and will most likely have the guys ready..scary to say but I can see this going back to NJ 2-2…all it takes is a fluky goal..which isn’t bizarre to kings hockey..as hockey fans we can’t sleep on the Devils. Ultimately the Devils are getting attention because all 4 of their playoff series they we looked at as losing the series in 5 or 6…once the kings proved they can beat the nucks it was relevant they can make their run, the media and fans never gave the Devils a chance

    • hrudey - Jun 3, 2012 at 10:33 AM

      Hey, there’s no reason at all to think it can’t happen. I mean, those of us who are Kings fans read pretty much the same thing from the Canucks, Blues and Coyotes at this point in the series. Some of the details were different, but each team was going to give their best shot and each team left without a win in game three. The Devils are a good enough team to break the trend of course, but that’s why fans are here talking and writers are writing and when the puck drops, not a damn one of us matters. :)

  5. hrudey - Jun 3, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    The Devils’ PP in the first two games is performing better than any other PP did in their first two games against the Kings. Phoenix is a close second, by going 0-9, but like NJ at least keeping the puck out of their own net. Vancouver had ten power plays in the first two games and St Louis had 12, and neither scored a PPG but gave up two SHGs.

    Putting this into perspective, on the road in this postseason, the Kings have been shorthanded 47 times. In those 47 penalty kills, they’ve outscored their opponents 5-2. Luckily for the Devils Brodeur was the best man on their Power Play, or those numbers could be even worse.

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