By Doug Weight - Special to NHL.com
New York Islanders assistant coach and senior advisor Doug Weight is assisting the NHL Network in its coverage of the Stanley Cup Final as an analyst. Weight, who won the Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, is also writing a blog for NHL.com every other day during the Final. Weight will focus on what it is like being a player on hockey's biggest stage.
In his latest entry, Weight writes about how the Kings need to keep focused on what's gotten them this far to take that one final step.
LOS ANGELES -- When the Kings won the two games on the road we talked about how they have to put that satisfaction aside and really grind through that feeling of starting to think about the Stanley Cup. Now, at 4 p.m. when that blue box comes rolling by your door, and you know the Stanley Cup is in the building, with you having a team on the ropes, the trophy within your grasp, it's really hard to get that out of your mind.
However, it's great when you have 20 guys in there and a coaching staff to keep reminding you to keep up with what has been positive, what we've been doing well. They have to keep going, have the same work ethic, if not harder. It is going to be the toughest one to get, and they have to have that mentality.
Remember, these two teams are here for a reason and New Jersey is going to give it everything. The Devils have started the last two games with a little bit of control, and Jonathan Quick really had to settle down the Kings, make some saves, until they got the lead. I don't think the Kings want that formula again. They want to use the crowd, use their confidence, and really take the Devils' will away.
The Devils already know there is a mental and physical climb up the mountain, and the Kings can take that will to win away with their energy and the crowd. The Kings can make the Devils realize that this is an insurmountable lead and it's too much.
The Devils won't give up, but the negativity inside of you about this hill you have to climb, four straight wins against this team that has just been relentless, can become just too much.
If the Kings take away their will, the Devils will start turning over pucks. They will get away from structure. They will lose discipline and take penalties. Those are the things you see throughout series, but when teams are in elimination mode like the Devils are right now, if the other team scores first, those things usually happen.
I do believe the Kings can do it. Everything they've been doing in these playoffs, we just haven't seen this.
The Kings never are on their heels, never scrambling. I saw maybe a 20-minute span in Game 4 against Phoenix when they were not a good team and coach Darryl Sutter wasn't happy. That got remedied fast, but I have never seen them on their heels crazily. They have always been in control. Jonathan Quick makes the saves. Sooner or later they do their thing in the offensive zone, rely on their skill, and get a goal.
It's like they know it is coming.
Now they have to close the deal, and that's never easy. I remember back in 2006 against Edmonton when we were up 3-1, the Oilers were relentless and they battled us hard. Even when we came in and talked about what we needed to do, they just wouldn't be defeated. It made for a great Final that way. It went seven games.
The thing is, I've been waiting for some type of letdown from the Kings similar to the one we had in 2006. You can still be a champion and have a letdown along the way.
I've been waiting for it, but I guess they're not going to give us one. Now I'm to the point where I'd be real surprised if I see it from the Kings.
In listening to Devils coach Peter DeBoer, they feel their team should be in a better spot. They might be right, but they're not and the chips are starting to pile up now.
The stack might fall over Wednesday night, leaving the Devils underneath, swept out of the Stanley Cup Final.