"It might as well be us," says Devils coach Peter DeBoer on the… (Julie Jacobson / Associated…)
NEWARK, N.J. — The New Jersey Devils were in an upbeat but realistic mood on Friday as they prepared for a second try at preventing the Kings from clinching the Stanley Cup.
The Devils postponed the Kings’ celebrations on Wednesday by recording a 3-1 victory at Staples Center to narrow the Kings’ lead to three games to one. Only three teams in NHL history have overcome 3-0 series deficits and only one, the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, have done it in the Final. The Devils will try to stave off elimination again on Saturday, when Game 5 is played at the Prudential Center at 5 p.m. Pacific time. The game will be aired on KNBC in Los Angeles.
“You know it’s going to happen again. So why not us?” Devils coach Peter DeBoer said Friday after his team skated at its practice rink adjacent to the Prudential Center.
“I think that’s the approach. You’re not going to go 200 years without someone else doing it. So it’s been long enough. It might as well be us.”
How do they get there? There are no secrets and no new formulas.
“You’ve just got to win games. There’s not much more that we can do,” goaltender Martin Brodeur said. “Again we were looking for something to spark us. Hopefully that big win late in the third period is something that for them, getting to be so close to it and not getting it in front of their fans where everything was ready for them, hopefully that can trigger something. But it’s a long ways away for us and we’re just taking it day by day.”
A key factor in the Devils’ success was the play of defenseman Henrik Tallinder, who had been part of their top defense pair until he developed a blood clot in his leg. Although he hadn’t played since Jan. 17, he stepped in with great poise to play 19 minutes and 21 seconds on Wednesday and stabilize the defense.
“I was a bit tired there at the end but I was going on fumes, or going on motivation,” he said Friday. “I was so excited. It was fun. I had a good time out there.
“I thought I played a decent game. I was a little bit maybe not at the right spot the first couple of shifts but after that I got warm and I felt pretty good.”
That was understating the case, according to teammate Bryce Salvador.
“Being out that long and coming right back into a do-or-die game in a hostile environment, I think he did unbelievable,” Salvador said. “It shows the composure that he has to step right in and handle the puck, making plays, and skate with the puck like he hadn’t missed a game.”
We’ll have more coverage after the Kings practice at the AmeriHealth Pavilion, the Devils’ practice rink.
Kings lose Game 4 of Stanley Cup Final, 3-1
The 10 greatest L.A. Kings of all time, No. 10: Anze Kopitar