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Are Devils due for historic comeback?

Friday, 06.08.2012 / 4:05 PM / 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

SCHEDULE

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 82 24 43 16 67
P. Elias 65 18 35 -4 53
T. Zajac 80 18 30 3 48
A. Henrique 77 25 18 3 43
M. Zidlicky 81 12 30 -3 42
M. Ryder 82 18 16 -6 34
A. Greene 82 8 24 3 32
E. Gelinas 60 7 22 -3 29
D. Zubrus 82 13 13 1 26
R. Clowe 43 7 19 -10 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 15 12 .921 1.97
M. Brodeur 19 14 6 .901 2.51