Going into game 4, the Devils faced a monumental task, or more accurately, a number of tasks. They had to solve Jonathon Quick, find a way to stop the Kings momentum and extend the series to game 5. There was no tomorrow. It was lose or go home. Thankfully Adam Henrique came through in yet another huge moment for the Devils and here we are, preparing for Game 5.
The tasks aren’t any smaller and in fact, they might be larger heading into game 5. The series shifts back to NJ and now the Devils are faced with having to beat a 10-0 road team in order to survive another day. The Devils played well enough to win in game 4 but I thought the Kings had a lot of missed opportunities. One could question if those missed opportunities were a result of thinking not about the game but rather what would happen if the won the game. I can’t imagine the Kings are going to play another game where they let opportunities get away. The Kings have been in this situation before as they are 3-3 in games where they can close out the series. The fact the neither the Vancouver Canucks (owners of the best record in hockey), the St. Louis Blues nor the Phoenix Coyotes could extend their series with the Kings to six games is a little intimidating.
What did NJ do well in Game 4 that will need to be duplicated in Game 5?
- Peter Deboer has made lineup changes throughout these playoffs and every time he does this, it seems that everyone treats him like he’s crazy. Well you know what, it worked yet again. I’m not saying change the lineups for Game 5 but certainly don’t go backwards.
- The Devils seem to succeed when Bryce Salvador finds the score sheet. He’s probably the most important d-man this team has.
- They shot the puck, from everywhere.
- The Devils didn’t allow frustration to get in the way. It’s no secret that Quick has been lights out most of the series and to enter period 3 of an elimination game with nothing in goal department could have really hurt this team but they battled, even through a horrible call on the ice that led to a game tying LA goal.
- Marty, he was big, no make that huge. He will need to be the rest of the way.
So how does NJ win Game 5?
- Stick to the game plan, which hasn’t changed since Game 1. Honestly, this series has been much closer than a 3-1 series lead would indicate. I would argue the third period of Game 3 is the one exception in this series.
- Continue to get the puck in the zone and rip it on net. Just like my golf game, they need to grip it and rip it. The more pucks on net, the more likely one is going in. They do need to do a better job at minimizing those lengthy stretches where they get 0 shots on net.
- Get Quick moving. They Devils had a number of chances once they got Quick going side to side. He’s not the type of goalie you are going to beat if you let him stand in one spot.
- Shoot high. You haven’t been doing it although everyone and their mother is telling you to shoot high. Finally Henrique shoots high and look what happens…GOAL!!!
- The crowd HAS to be energized. Go back to Game 4 vs Philly and that crowd was the loudest I’ve even seen in my life. It brought an extra step to our team. We need that desperately in Game 5.
The Devils can do this if they just continue to attack this as one game at a time. If NJ can win Game 5, that certainly starts to plant a few seeds of doubt into the Kings players and fans. Just get to Game 6, that’s the only goal right now. The Devils fired off 6 in a row to end the season, there is no reason that NJ can’t win 4 in a row.
CBC Hockey Night in Canada opening video for Game 4.
I knew they were going to use this song. Any guesses what some might show up for the opening to Game 5? Does Bruce or Bon Jovi have a peppy song about believing?? Oh wait, Bruce has a song called No Surrender.
It’s been talked about how the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs were the last team to overcome a 3-0 series deficit in the Stanley Cup Finals but did you know that the 1975 New York Islanders overcame a 3-0 deficit in the Conference Semi-finals? The reason I bring it up, JP Parise was a member of that 1975 Islanders team. C’mon Zach…life father like son!!!