The number one thing the Devils did well in Game 4 that they have to do in Game 5 is be opportunistic. That's one part of the game, where they took advantage of the chances they had. They were a little more aggressive in front of Jonathan Quick. It's very rare that you see a team capitalize on a rebound and get behind L.A.'s defense. Patrik Elias did that and scored a key goal.
For the most part, teams have a had a hard time with L.A. because even when you manage to score a goal, they come back and score a goal that can really deflate your team. That happened, but New Jersey stuck with it and ended up getting that huge goal from Adam Henrique. Going through the playoffs, very few teams have been able to do that against the Kings.
New Jersey played pretty well. When you look back to Games 1 and 2, you can say they played well enough to win those games. In Game 4, they got the goaltending from Martin Brodeur. That was the most quality scoring chances the Kings got in this series and they end up losing the game. It's funny how it's teetering back and forth right now.
Stanley Cup Final Perspectives
Hockey commentator Darren Pang is assisting the NHL Network in its coverage of the Stanley Cup Final as an analyst. Pang, a former goaltender for the Chicago Blackhawks and the current color voice of the St. Louis Blues, is also writing a blog for NHL.com every other day during the Final
In his latest entry, Pang says the Devils need more of the same from Game 4, while the Kings need to be more physical to claim the Stanley Cup.
The key for Marty heading into next season is going to be the offseason. The key is coming to camp in the best shape he can possibly be in, the best shape he's ever been in. I don't think he can afford to come to camp or into the first two months of the season like this year and not be on top of his game. He struggled early this year.
The way he played in February, March and into the playoffs, there's no question in my mind he can play for another couple of years. If I were giving him advice, it would be don't take much time in the offseason. Keep it going conditioning-wise, everything from stretching to cardio to everything so you come into camp on top of your game like he is right now.
The adjustments he made with his equipment -- adding to his shoulder pads, finally getting out of that 1997 arm and chest protector for so long -- I think makes him feel more confident. That makes him stand a little more firm on top of your crease ready to face shots. You're confident you're not going to get hurt.
I think if anything, the way the Devils won Game 4 gives Peter DeBoer and New Jersey a bit of a heartbeat here, the feeling that you won a game, a good feeling that your goaltender came up big, a good feeling you overcame a terrible boarding call on David Clarkson that leads to a power-play goal against but yet you stuck with it. That's the sign of a team full of character.
In Game 4, I thought Henrik Tallinder was excellent and I love that the pairings got changed. I thought Bryce Salvador and Marek Zidlicky ran out of gas with each other. I thought adding Tallinder with Zidlicky and Salvador with Anton Volchenkov balanced the D pairings a lot better than what it was. I thought it put the proper players in the proper roles.
I do believe that even though L.A. had some good scoring chances in Game 4 and hit a couple of posts, they still have to go out there in Game 5 and establish that physical game. One player in particular that has been slowed down and nullified has been Dustin Brown. It's not like he's not trying, but New Jersey is doing a good job of taking away his speed and getting in his lane so he can't get in on the forecheck and deliver that big hit.
As we all know, when Dustin Brown gets a big hit or a big open-ice hit, it stirs up the hornet's nest. It certainly makes Brown a better player but it also makes the Kings a more dangerous team.
It's always possible that he's playing hurt, but he's out there for every skate. He was out there Saturday morning. He was out there Friday. He hangs around the locker room for a long time making sure he handles the media. If there's something really bothering him, he's not spending a whole lot of time off the ice getting therapy.