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Are Devils due for historic comeback?

Friday, 06.8.2012 / 4:05 PM ET / News
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Are Devils due for historic comeback?



 
NEWARK, N.J. -- It's been 70 years since a team rallied from a 3-0 series deficit in the Stanley Cup Final, and Devils coach Peter DeBoer feels it's about time another team pulled off the feat.

"You know it's going to happen again. So why not us?" he said following the Devils' practice Friday. "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."

The Los Angeles Kings -- as they've done in every series during the postseason -- took the first three games of this series, but the Devils fought back in Game 4 at Staples Center with a 3-1 victory. Game 5 will be played Saturday night at Prudential Center and offers the Devils a chance to become the first team to beat the Kings twice in one series during this postseason.

The Kings have been so dominant in these playoffs that they have yet to play a Game 6 and are 10-0 on the road. That's why the Devils feel winning at home Saturday could plant the seed of doubt the Canucks, Blues and Coyotes never could.

"It is a big game from their perspective," Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador said. "When you're in a position when you have an advantage, you never want to lose that advantage or take things for granted. In their mindset, they don't want us hanging around. From our standpoint, each game we're able to play the way we play, allows to keep building momentum."

"That's where you want to get them," forward Adam Henrique said, "get a little doubt in their minds."

If there are two Devils who know it takes to overcome such a deep deficit, it's Martin Brodeur and Patrik Elias.

During the Devils' run to a Stanley Cup in 2000, they ran into a top-seeded juggernaut in the form of the Philadelphia Flyers in the conference finals. The Devils never faced a 3-0 deficit, but they lost three straight after taking Game 1 of the series against the Flyers, who were 11-4 and winners of seven of eight at that point.

The Devils won the final three games of that series, including Game 7 in Philadelphia, to advance to the Cup Final. While the Devils are looking to instill fear into the nearly unbeatable Kings, Brodeur said it was fear that fueled the comeback in 2000.

"You're so scared to lose to go home," Brodeur said. "You have to have that fear that if you lose, it's over. You just have to believe and play that game. It's not a fun feeling when you're facing elimination. We won't feel comfortable until it's over. I don't care if we tie up the series -- that Game 7 is going to be nerve-wracking for everybody, too. We're in that situation every single game. We're fighting for our lives just to live another day."

Elias said while forcing a Game 6 against the Flyers in 2000 was an injection of confidence for the team, it wasn't until they tied the series that they believed they could pull off the rally.

"I think we felt after 3-3, we had a chance," Elias said. "When you're in that situation, you can't look ahead to Game 6 at all. It's the same thing for us tomorrow. We're prepared. We know what they do after four games. Hopefully we can talk at practice again and fly to L.A. on Sunday."

Much like the Kings in Game 4, the Flyers had a chance to close the series in front of a raucous crowd but failed to do so. The Devils handled the Flyers easily in their first elimination game in Philadelphia, 4-1, but they needed a late goal from Adam Henrique to break a 1-1 tie and win Wednesday's game in Los Angeles.

Brodeur believes that deflation felt by the Kings could be the opening the Devils need to continue the process of destroying their confidence.

"Hopefully that big win, late in the third period, is something that for them, getting to be so close to it, not getting it in front of their fans, hopefully that will start something," Brodeur said. "It's a long ways away for us. We're just taking it day to day."

Devils center Travis Zajac has a more narrow approach to Game 5, but believes the team has a chance to shake the Kings' foundation that has carried them to within one victory of a Cup.

"That's the plan, to win the next game and anytime you're on the other side of that situation, you're feeling a little bit of pressure," Zajac said. "For us, it's making sure we come out with another great effort tomorrow. We want to get better as this series goes on. I think we've been doing that consistently in the last couple games."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Palmieri 82 30 27 3 57
A. Henrique 80 30 20 10 50
T. Zajac 74 14 28 3 42
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
D. Severson 72 1 20 -8 21
R. Boucher 39 8 11 -13 19
D. Schlemko 67 6 13 -22 19
J. Moore 73 4 15 -12 19
A. Larsson 82 3 15 15 18
J. Blandisi 41 5 12 -14 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 27 25 6 .924 2.15
K. Kinkaid 9 9 1 .904 2.81
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