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Devils try to keep Cup hopes alive at home

Friday, 06.08.2012 / 11:30 AM / Ice Vision - Presented by Turtle Wax

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

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Devils try to keep Cup hopes alive at home

The New Jersey Devils knew they'd be coming home after Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. They were delighted that the Los Angeles Kings also had to make the trip.

The Devils spoiled the party in L.A. on Wednesday and extended the Stanley Cup Final for at least one more game with a 3-1 victory in Game 4, avoiding the first playoff sweep in franchise history and forcing a fifth game at Prudential Center on Saturday night (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

The odds are still stacked against the Devils -- only three teams in NHL history (and one in the Final, the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs) have rallied to win a series after losing the first three games. The Kings are still just one win away from winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in the franchise's 45-year history.

Here are five things to keep in mind as the action unfolds in Game 5:

1. The Kings have to feel confident going into Game 5 because of their success on the road. Los Angeles is the first team in playoff history to win its first 10 road games in one year; overall, the Kings have won a record 12 straight postseason games away from home -- including Games 1 and 2 in the Final.

2. If the Devils hope to send the series back to Los Angeles, they've got to get some production from their power play. New Jersey was 0-for-3 in Game 4 and has failed on all 15 of its power plays in the series so far.

3. While the Kings' penalty-killers have allowed just five goals in 72 attempts this spring, New Jersey's PK unit, the best in the NHL during the regular season, continues to struggle. L.A. went 1-for-4 in Game 4 and is 3-for-9 in the series. The Devils have allowed 19 goals on 71 opposition power plays in the playoffs after surrendering just 27 PPGs in 82 regular-season games.

4. The Kings are just the sixth of 26 teams that took a 3-0 lead into Game 4 and failed to complete the sweep. The last was the 1981 New York Islanders, who lost Game 4 in Minnesota but beat the North Stars (now the Dallas Stars) on Long Island in Game 5. The Devils are trying to become the first team since the 1945 Detroit Red Wings to lose the first three games of the Final and get as far as a sixth game.

5. The empty-net goal scored by Ilya Kovalchuk in Game 4 moved the New Jersey star into a tie for first place in postseason goals (8) and points (19). L.A.'s Anze Kopitar also has 19 points; he, Kopitar and Philadelphia's Claude Giroux and Danny Briere share the lead in goals.

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