NEWARK, N.J. Why not us?
New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer posed that question heading into Game 5. Why shouldnt his Devils come back to win this series, come back and make history? But down 3-1 at the time there was more of a suggestion than a possibility.
Well, with another victory, that potential grows.
Bryce Salvadors seeing-eye shot proved to be the game-winner, and Martin Brodeur was stellar again as the Devils beat the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday night. The Devils have clawed their way back and now trail 3-2 in the best-of-seven series; and the possibility of them joining the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs in overcoming a 3-0 deficit to win a Cup is not just a passing thought anymore.
Stressful? Nail-biting? Anxiety-ridden? These last two contests have been all that and more. But the results are a great incentive.
Its a difficult thing to get ready for games like that, now two in a row. It drains you a lot, takes a lot out of you. But its worth it, Brodeur said. Everyones constantly getting themselves ready and leaving it all out there. Its exciting, to do what were doing. Were having a great deal of fun. But we havent done anything yet. Thats why its important to keep it on the low key, keep grinding it out and well be just fine.
And the why-not-us mentality keeps increasing in the Devils locker room.
Its growing with every period, every goal we score, Devils defenseman Mark Fayne said. Were just working hard and its paying off.
That, and theyre getting those coveted breaks and bounces. Jonathan Quick semi-whiffed when he tried to clear the puck on a Devils power play, and Zach Parise was there to turn the turnover into a 1-0 lead. And Salvadors game-winning shot went off Slava Voynov, the second time this series a puck has deflected off the Kings defenseman and past Quick.
And just like that, the team that was so close to being knocked out is right back in it.
One thing about our group is that, you know, they believe that we can win. They believe we can win every game we play if we play the right way, DeBoer said It's just a matter of stringing together a couple more here.
Yes, theres still a climb awaiting the Devils. It took until Saturday night for the Kings to suffer their first road loss this postseason. The 10-0 mark finally has a blemish. But theyre still, nonetheless, just one win away from capturing their first Cup in franchise history. Back on their home ice, the Kings are going to be looking to snuff out the Devils once and for all.
But theres no doubt the Devils have more momentum now. They have the players who are experienced at this Cup thing Brodeur, Patrik Elias, Petr Sykora to name a few. And they know L.A. has to be getting a little antsy about the lack of closure.
Its a matter of us going into a tough environment in LA and trying to ruin the party again, Brodeur said. Theyre so close to winning the Cup. Im sure its getting to them a little bit, to have all these chances and not capitalize on them. Were just looking to stay alive, to win one more game.
Why believe the Devils have a chance to win four in a row and make history?