Devils put on brave face before Game 4 showdown
By Steve Keating ,Reuters
June 7, 2012, 12:11 am TWN
LOS ANGELES -- Staring into the abyss with the prospect of a humbling four-game sweep from the Stanley Cup Finals, the New Jersey Devils put on a brave face and said all the right things on Tuesday as they prepared to face the Los Angeles Kings.
But the smiles seemed forced and the words weary as the rattled Devils trotted out a few well-worn, backs-against-the-wall cliches, mustering up as much defiance as they could before their do-or-die Game 4 on Wednesday.
"I think it's an opportunity we have to stay alive," Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur said. "We have to compete tomorrow and we'll see where that's going to bring us.
"We put ourselves in that position. Credit to those guys, they've been playing real well.
"Everything they touch turns to gold."
The Kings will be hoping to touch silver after Game 4 — Lord Stanley's treasured mug that has eluded them in their 45 years as a franchise.
New Jersey has hoisted the Cup three times but has watched a fourth slip away, starting with a pair of 2-1 overtime losses at home that left them ruing their bad luck and believing a break here or there would have had them in the driver's seat.
"I think we've played some good hockey and the bounces haven't gone our way," said Devils forward David Clarkson. "This is part of the way things go. This is the playoffs.
"Bounces go your way or don't. We're not going to give up.
"I think last game we did a lot of good things. I don't think the score showed for how well we played at certain times."
Coming back has required a bit of California dreaming for the Devils. Only one team, the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, has ever clawed back from 3-0 down to steal the Cup.
"We haven't talked about the statistics of the situation we're in," said Devils coach Peter DeBoer. "We feel we don't belong in the hole we're in right now based on the way we've played, but we are."
"Got to stick with it and win one game. That's where it starts.
"We're down 3-0. I think we played better than the situation indicates. But that's hockey."
A good place to look for answers would be the Devils' sputtering powerplay that has gone 0-for-12 in the series.
With just two goals in three games, the Devils also need to generate some offense and make life a little more difficult for Kings netminder Jonathan Quick.
The Devils have grudgingly given Quick the proper amount of respect but point out that they have beaten other top netminders this postseason, including the New York Rangers' Vezina trophy finalist Henrik Lundqvist.
"We've got to convert," said Devils captain Zach Parise. "I think last game we had some good opportunities early, power plays, we're just not cashing in when we need to and they are. That's been the difference.
"When we have a breakdown, they're making it count and we're not. That's why we find ourselves where we are right now.
"We're in a tough spot. Try to get this thing taken back to New Jersey that's all we can do right now."