NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils realize the importance of squaring their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Florida Panthers on Thursday in Game 4 at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN).
Veteran goalie Martin Brodeur feels the team has put itself in a must-win situation after losing 4-3 in Game 3.
"You don't want to bank on making the historical comeback when you go down 3-1 in a series," Brodeur said. "It's tough to come back from that, there's no doubt. You have to address these games as do or die and just go out and put in a good effort."
Does Brodeur feel getting the early lead is important? After all, the team that has taken a 3-0 lead in the previous three games has struggled to hold that advantage.
Florida, however, was the first to go down by three and rally for a victory, which they did in Game 3 on Tuesday. In Game 1, New Jersey opened a 3-0 lead and hung on for a 3-2 win. In Game 2, the Panthers surged to a 3-0 advantage before winning 4-2 triumph.
"I don't know about [getting that big lead]," Brodeur said. "It depends on how big. The game will be played the way it's played, and we'll react to it."
Devils forward Dainius Zubrus said he believes the team has dealt with adverse situations this season and this is no exception.
"You reach certain points where you lose two in a row and it happens throughout the season, but I don't want to say we've been there, because this is the playoffs and it's a little different," Zubrus told NHL.com. "But we can respond … we have done it. It's not the situation we want to be in after winning the first game, but this is how it is.
"There are things we can do better and clean up, and saying that, the belief is still there. [Thursday] is a huge game because we don't want to go down and then go on the road."
The only Devils not on the ice for Thursday's optional skate were Petr Sykora, Patrik Elias, David Clarkson, Andy Greene, Bryce Salvador and Marek Zidlicky. Devils coach Peter DeBoer said there would be no lineup changes, meaning rookie defenseman Adam Larsson would be a healthy scratch for the ninth time in the last 10 games.
Here is the projected lineup for the Devils for Game 3:
Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Adam Henrique - David Clarkson
Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Anton Volchenkov - Peter Harrold
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale