LOS ANGELES -- Sometimes a team gets a do-over to clinch the Stanley Cup on home ice. Seldom does a team need that second chance as much the Los Angeles Kings.
Several players, notably Drew Doughty, said they were distracted before Game 4 because of their respective inner circles, a tacit admission that they weren't ready to play the game. So when the Kings stepped on Staples Center ice for their morning skate Monday, they said they have a narrower focus in preparation for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.
"A lot different," Jarret Stoll said. "Maybe we didn't handle it very good in Game 4, but I think we've learned a lot in the last couple days, the last couple of games. We've just got to find a way to win a game and put it out there. We need everybody. We need a perfect game. They need their perfect game."
The distractions for the Kings players were inevitable. Friends and family were in the building, along with the Cup, and players' phones tend to blow up with calls and texts when a team is one win away from lifting that Cup. New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer alluded to driving past limousines outside the arena in talking about the impending celebration.
It's a mantra we've been repeating during this series and throughout the playoffs, but the key to Game 6 is scoring the first goal. Now that New Jersey has really made this a compelling series, the pressure goes to Los Angeles being on home ice to score the first goal and get the crowd behind you so you can play on your toes and you're not chasing the game.
There's a significant difference in the way these two teams play when they have the lead and when they don't have the lead. When the Devils have the lead, they put the clamps down on you as well. They smother you. Los Angeles has been that way since the beginning of February.
After these two losses, I don't think the Kings' confidence is shaken. I think the belief is still there, but I think when your backs are against the wall and there's a potential of not having a game the next day, you play your best. Los Angeles hasn't had to face that yet because there have been other games. I've rarely seen a team with their backs against the wall not play their best. It brings out the best in you.
LOS ANGELES -- Playing behind an impressive veteran goalie, a determined captain and a reliable fourth line, the New Jersey Devils have clawed back into the Stanley Cup Final with back-to-back wins.
Now the Devils have NBC Sports analyst Jeremy Roenick wondering if the damage they have done to the legacy and history that the Los Angeles Kings were trying to create in these playoffs will be good enough to force a Game 7 back in Newark.
"If they win one more game here in L.A., then you have to make them the odds-on favorite to win it," Roenick told NHL.com. "It's a 60-minute game in order to play the biggest game of their lives in their own building.
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings are feeling the pressure. It's impossible not to be feeling it, but that's OK because pressure is part of it.
When that car carrying that box with the Stanley Cup inside of it rolls up with the police escort at the end of the second period, the players know. The players on one side are looking at it as an elimination game with the Cup in the house and it can be delivered to the other team in front of us. The players on the other side are looking at it as another chance to win this thing and it's there again, the Stanley Cup.
I know a couple of guys refer to the first round and say, 'Well, if you get knocked out in the first round, you're still not winning the Cup.' I don't care for that. It's not the same at all. Emotionally you can think of it that way, but the Cup Final is the Cup Final, and the L.A. Kings are feeling the heat now.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Martin Brodeur rattled off the years 1942 and 1945 without any hesitation or stutter in his voice.
The Devils' 40-year-old goalie, the son of a man who has documented some of hockey's greatest moments through his camera lens, knows history, so he knows no team since the '42 Leafs has come back to win a Stanley Cup after falling behind 3-0 in the Final. Brodeur is well aware that the Devils on Saturday became the first team since the '45 Red Wings to even force a Game 6 in this round after losing the first three games.
"I'd be surprised how many guys on our team know about it," Brodeur questioned Sunday.
OK, so Zach Parise knows about how the Islanders in 1975 pulled off the miracle in the second round because his dad, J.P., was on that team. But, he didn't know about the '42 Leafs or the '45 Leafs.
Heck, Parise said he wasn't even aware that the Devils are 10-1 in Games 4-7 in this postseason -- and he's living through it in present time.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- It's not that Kings can't handle adversity in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It's that they haven't really faced it until the Stanley Cup Final against the New Jersey Devils.
For three rounds, the Kings plowed through their opponents like an angry bull through the streets of Pamplona. They jumped to 3-0 leads in every series and never had to go past a fifth game to get to the next round. The script remained unchanged against the Devils through four games, with the Kings taking the first three before dropping the fourth at home.
Unlike the Canucks, Blues and Coyotes before them, the Devils did something everyone else couldn't -- win two straight against the Kings and force a sixth game, which will take place Monday night at Staples Center.
Save for a temper tantrum from defenseman Drew Doughty in Game 5 of the conference finals against the Coyotes, the Devils became the first team to get the Kings to lose their composure.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Dustin Brown set the tone for the Los Angeles Kings for the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. His physicality and record-setting play while shorthanded put him in the discussion of the Conn Smythe Trophy.
That pace, it seems, was unrealistic to keep.
Injuries at this time of year are as secretly kept as launch codes for missiles, but it's easy to surmise that Brown is banged up to the point where it is significantly hurting his game. If that's the case, he's not telling.
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