LOS ANGELES -- The Devils' dreams of a historic comeback were all but dashed less than 11 minutes into Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals Monday night.
Just 10:10 in, Steve Bernier drilled Los Angeles defenseman Rob Scuderi from behind into the end boards and essentially took his club out of the game. Bernier was given a major penalty and was ejected from the game.
"He turned back," Bernier said of Scuderi. "I feel very bad, but it's a fast game out there, and it ends up being a bad play. You certainly don't want to get five minutes for it. I wish I could take that play back."
The Kings took full advantage of the 5-minute power play and scored three times in a span of 3:58 en route to a 6-1 victory that clinched Los Angeles' first Stanley Cup championship in the franchise's 45-year history.
New Jersey trailed 3-0 after the first period and 4-1 through 40 minutes. The Devils had little left for the third period, when the Kings went into lock-down mode and added two late insurance markers.
"I didn't want to hurt my team, I wanted to help them," Bernier said. "This is extremely hard. It's been a long playoff run for us. To finish on that note, it's not fun for sure. But there's nothing I can do now."
The Devils were trying to become just the third team to force a Game 7 in the Finals after trailing 3-0. Only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs came all the way back to win the Cup.
Though it is of little consolation, New Jersey became the first team in 67 years to even get to a sixth game in the Finals after falling behind 3-0.
Bernier never gave them a chance to get to a Game 7 back in New Jersey.
The seven-year veteran slammed Scuderi behind the Los Angeles net, slamming him headfirst against the boards. The hit left Scuderi dazed and bloodied before he left the ice under his own power and headed to the dressing room. Scuderi returned to the bench, but Bernier was done for the night -- and ultimately the season.
Kings captain Dustin Brown scored first at 11:03, and Jeff Carter made it 2-0 at 12:45. Just 16 seconds later, Trevor Lewis poked the puck past 40-year-old goalie Martin Brodeur's glove after Dwight King's centering pass squirted through the crease.
"You never know. You get to the dance, you never know what's going to happen," Brown said. "We calmed down after losing two. It was the first time we had done that all playoffs, and we finally got off to a good start."
Adding to the Devils' frustration was a 35-foot one-timer by New Jersey's Patrik Elias that rang off the right post just 38 seconds before the first period ended.
Carter made it 4-0 just 11/2 minutes into the second period, beating Brodeur with a 40-foot wrist shot from the slot.
By then, all that was left to determine was the final score. Adam Henrique cut the deficit to 4-1 with 1:15 left in the second period, but the Devils couldn't get any closer.
Playoff MVP goalie Jonathan Quick made 17 saves in his latest stellar performance.
"We never lost our confidence," Quick said. "We had to take it on the chin to keep moving, losing two, and we looked at it as, 'Hey, we still have to win one game to win a championship. And we have two chances.' Finally, we were able to do it at home."
The Devils had players march to the penalty box all night long, and lost forwards Ryan Carter and David Clarkson to 10-minute misconducts that forced New Jersey to play with a diminished corps of forwards for large chunks of the game.
"You don't give yourself a lot of room for error, finding yourselves in a pretty deep hole," Devils captain Zach Parise said. "It's hard, but we really felt like could get back in this and force a Game 7. We did give our best, but we just came up a bit short, unfortunately."