Zach Parise of the New Jersey Devils directs the puck into the net with his… (Bruce Bennett / Getty Images )
NEWARK, N.J. -- Greetings from the Prudential Center, where the New Jersey Devils had the ice first on Friday at their practice rink. The main arena is set up for another Radiohead concert Friday night, so neither the Devils nor the Kings could skate there.
After losing to the Kings on Wednesday to open the Stanley Cup Final, the Devils had a day off and returned to the ice for a full practice on Friday. Goaltender Martin Brodeur described the team’s mood as purposeful but good, and forward Zach Parise was even able to joke about his attempt to score by throwing the puck into the net in Game 1.
“I saw the puck was going behind the net so I tried to keep it alive,” he said, laughing. “I couldn’t get my stick and I knew none of our guys could put it in at that point.
“Maybe the video review wasn’t working or something. I was just trying to keep it alive. I didn’t have anything. I was just trying to sneak it in.”
That won’t be part of the Devils’ strategy for Game 2, to be played Saturday at the Prudential Center. Improving their execution after a shaky start to Game 1 will be their main focus, Parise said.
“Maybe it was the first Cup Final game jitters a little bit, but some of the plays we made were uncharacteristic of us,” he said. “And the things we’ve been doing right for almost two months now, for whatever reason we didn’t do them right. We didn’t do it properly last game and yet we had a chance to win the game. We know we’ve got to be a lot better.
“I’m sure [in the Kings camp] they’re saying they can be better too. We really recognize that we didn’t play nearly well enough and yet we still had a chance to win, so we’ll be a little better.”
Brodeur said being sharper in their execution is “imperative” for the Devils on Saturday.
“I think the work ethic was there. Just work a little smarter and try to get to them somehow,” he said of the Kings. “They’ve played some really good hockey on the road. They’ve started the series the way they wanted to, so for us it’s try to get back to our game and not worry too much about what’s going on on the other side. It’s a big game.”
The Kings have started every series on the road in these playoffs and have won the first two games each time. Brodeur is well aware of that and knows knows it will be difficult for the Devils to bounce back if they lose again Saturday. However, they did bounce back after losing the opener of their second-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers and the opener of their Eastern Conference final series against the New York Rangers.
“We’ve been in that position a few times but it’s never a comfortable situation,” he said. “Especially against a stingy team like L.A. is, or other teams that we’ve played, getting off to an 0-2 start would be a tough one to overcome, like they did on every single team they started in the playoffs on the road against. So this is what’s in the back of our heads a little bit.”
Keep checking Sports Now for an update on the Kings practice.