Cross-country trip won't do the Devils any favors
For the first time since the seventh game on the schedule, the New Jersey Devils are flying to the Pacific Time zone.
New Jersey has been a bit of a homebody this season, venturing past the Rockies only once, on Oct. 25, to take a 3-0 road win against the Los Angeles Kings – the same team it travels to play in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Monday.
The Devils have been especially stingy on gas during the playoffs. Outside of four opening-round road games against the Florida Panthers, who reside in the Eastern Time zone, they’ve only had to make short jaunts to Philadelphia and New York in the last two rounds. Game 3 will be the first time since Jan. 14 the Devils are playing outside the Eastern Time zone.
Outside of the early-season trip to Los Angeles, the Devils only ventured as far west as Edmonton, Calgary and Phoenix, all of which fall in the Mountain Time zone. They played the two other California clubs – Anaheim and San Jose – at home and also hosted the Vancouver Canucks in their only meeting this year.
New Jersey was 24-15-2-0 away from the Garden State this season (5-4 in the postseason) and went 10-6-2 against Western Conference opponents, including a 4-2-1 mark versus the Pacific Division. In the playoffs, New Jersey has played its best hockey later into a series, going 4-6 in Games 1-3 but 8-1 in Games 4-7.
The Devils dropped the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final, both in overtime, to Los Angeles. The Kings improved to 10-0 on the road this postseason with Saturday’s 2-1 OT victory and hold a 4-2 playoff record inside the Staples Center.
Oddsmakers opened New Jersey as a +140 road underdog for Monday’s Game 3, while Los Angeles sits as a -160 favorite. The Devils are 1-5 all-time in series after losing the opening two games.
The total for Game 3 is set at 4.5 goals.