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Roenick: Kings have to get back to their game

Friday, 06.08.2012 / 7:18 PM / Devils vs Kings - 2012 Stanley Cup Final

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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Roenick: Kings have to get back to their game
Former NHL star and NBC Sports analyst Jeremy Roenick tells NHL.com that the Kings must be more aggressive than they were in Game 4 if they hope to close out New Jersey on Saturday.

NEWARK, N.J. -- Jeremy Roenick thought the Los Angeles Kings were going to go after the sweep and the Stanley Cup harder than they did in Game 4.

He was disappointed.

"The Kings had a 3-0 lead and they played it like they had a 3-2 lead," Roenick, an analyst for NBC Sports, told NHL.com. "You know what, you have to go for the jugular when you have a 3-0 lead and you're at home."

The Devils instead got the win in Game 4, bringing the series back to Prudential Center for Game 5 on Saturday night (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS).

For Roenick's thoughts on Game 5, on if the Kings can win the Stanley Cup in Newark and what the Devils have to do to stop that from happening, read this exclusive Q&A:

STANLEY CUP FINAL - KINGS VS. DEVILS

Devils try to keep Cup hopes alive at home

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Colunnist
The 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 with a 3-1 win. READ MORE ›

NHL.com: What do the Kings have to do to close this out and win the Stanley Cup?

JR: The Kings have to get back to their game. In Game 4 they sat back and hoped for it. You can't just hope to try to win a championship. You have to go after it. You have to put your offense on total alert. You have to get your defensemen into the game. You have to rely on your goalie to save the game when you need it. You need everything in your artillery and go at it. The Kings didn't do that in Game 4. They allowed the Devils to play the boring style of defensive hockey that they wanted to play. If you're going to play a hang-back style you have to capitalize on your opportunities and the Kings didn't do that.

NHL.com: How much confidence do you think they have from being 10-0 on the road in the playoffs?

JR: I think they have a lot of confidence, But in the Stanley Cup Final, when your mojo is busted, like the Devils just did to the Kings, that puts a little doubt, a little "uh-oh" in their minds and in their vocabulary. The only reason it put a little uh-oh is now it's Game 5 in it's in New Jersey's building. The Kings are thinking, 'What happens if we lose this game? If we lose this game we're in a must-win Game 6.' That uh-oh that New Jersey has put in the Kings becomes a very big part of Game 5.

NHL.com: What did you think of the way Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar played in Game 4?

JR: I didn't think they had a bad game. I think they had a conservative game. I think the Kings in general had a conservative game. When you're up 3-0, you throw everything in the kitchen sink at them. You don't sit back and play conservative and try to win it 1-0 or 2-1. You try to win 5-0 or 6-0. Now they have a different story. Now they have to play more aggressive and more aggressive defensively because they are in the other team's building.

NHL.com: There had to be a difference in New Jersey's play in Game 4 to allow it to get the win. What was it?

JR: I think the Devils were just very happy at keeping it close. They closed gaps. They played solid defensively. They had their sticks in the right areas. They didn't give the Kings any room to make plays. They were satisfied with keeping it 0-0 because that gave them a chance to win. It was a great game plan. They worked the same way, but they stayed with it. They didn't let any of the elements deter their focus, and that's why they got the lead and won the game. They stayed focused and resilient. That's the same way they have to play in Game 5.

NHL.com: Are you seeing enough out of Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise right now?

Ilya Kovalchuk
Ilya Kovalchuk
Left Wing - NJD
GOALS: 8 | ASST: 11 | PTS: 19
SOG: 67 | +/-: -4
JR: I don't think Kovalchuk is healthy. I don't at all. I think he's really hurting. I think he's doing everything he can to give everything he can to the Devils. He's battling and I'm sure he's going through a lot of treatment. It looks like his back is really bothering him, but he's giving everything he can. However, because he's in that situation the Kings can really focus on shutting down Parise, who has had a tough time finding open space and getting to the net because they are so focused on him. I think the Kings know that Kovalchuk is hurt and all they have to do is keep Parise in check. But, if the Devils keep getting big contributions from Adam Henrique and Patrik Elias, then the Kings have something else to worry about. That has to raise their eyebrows.

NHL.com: All that said, can the Devils win without Kovalchuk and Parise getting points?

JR: I think that all depends on Martin Brodeur. If Marty can continue the stellar play that he has mastered here in the playoffs the Devils have a chance. If the Devils win Game 5, the nerves and the butterflies and the fear triples for the Kings in Game 6. One guy that is not going to be nervous, who won't have jitters and will be the most confident is Brodeur. He's going to eat up this situation.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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