Having already ended two series for the Devils in this year's Stanley Cup playoffs, New Jersey's beyond-his-years rookie Adam Henrique took to keeping his team's season alive Wednesday night.
Henrique did what few have done to Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, beating him with 4:31 remaining in the third period to snap a 1-1 tie and lead the Devils to a 3-1 Game 4 victory at a jam-packed Staples Center.
The goal stunned a record crowd of 18,867 into silence. Ilya Kovalchuk then followed with his first goal of the series, a shot into an empty net with 19.1 seconds left that denied the Kings a chance to win their first title in 45 years of existence.
Game 5 will be Saturday in Newark, where the Kings will take a 3-1 series lead.
The Devils took advantage of a turnover at the Kings' blue line. New Jersey forward David Clarkson shot a cross-ice pass over to Henrique, who settled the puck and then took the shot that gave his team new life.
Henrique, who is one of three finalists for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie, has just four postseason goals, but three have been clutch.
One came in double overtime of Game 7 to finish off the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Henrique then punched the Devils' ticket to the Cup final with a rebound goal in Game 6 against the New York Rangers.
Ageless Martin Brodeur was steady all night, making 21 saves in a gritty effort against a Kings team that was trying to make history. The Kings came into Game 4 with a 15-2 record this postseason and were bent on tying the 1988 Edmonton Oilers' rampaging run to the Cup.
Both teams appeared tight for much of the contest until the third period. New Jersey finally solved Quick when Patrik Elias pounced on a rare rebound and backhanded it in at the 7:56 mark.
The lead was the first for the Devils in the series, but it lasted all of 60 seconds. After Clarkson was whistled for boarding, Drew Doughty scored four seconds into a power play to tie the contest and rev up an already charged crowd.
The Devils showed they were early game in Game 4. Brodeur steadied his teammates with some strong play while captain Zach Parise, who had been a no-show in the series, sat in the box with an early tripping penalty.
In addition to three solid stops during the Kings' power play, Brodeur was also the beneficiary of some good luck. Anze Kopitar ripped a shot off the post, while Slava Voynov's point shot also caught metal after Justin Williams tipped it.
The Devils appeared energized by their Hall of Fame-bound goaltender, but that did nothing for them at the offensive end, where the running theme of being unable to beat Quick continued.
Quick came into the potential clincher with ridiculously gaudy playoff numbers -- a 15-2 record, 1.36 goals-against average and a .950 save percentage. The stone-faced goalie gobbled up New Jersey's best chance during a power play.
Elias carried the puck across the Kings' blue line and slid a nice pass over to Petr Sykora, who got the call from Devils coach Peter DeBoer in Game 4 in the hope that he could provide some kind of offensive spark.
Sykora, who has two Cups on his resume, teed up a one-timer headed for the right corner that Quick stretched out and nabbed with his glove. It was the highlight of his 11 saves in the first two periods.
Having got out of the first 20 minutes unscratched, the Kings applied more pressure in the second, but their execution wasn't up to par, as shots continually sailed wide and passes didn't connect the way they had throughout the postseason.