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.
Goalie - NJD
GAA: 2.00 | SVP: 0.922
What about the rest of his teammates? Well, let's just say they're not exactly history buffs.
"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 Wings.
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.
Adam Henrique came back from a 0-3 hole to win a series when he played in the OHL -- but the '42 Leafs? The '45 Wings? He's only 22 years old. Give him a break.
Patrik Elias said he would have guessed that no team in history had ever come back from a 0-3 hole in the Cup Final to win the series.
"And, I don't care," Elias said.
Alright, so that was pretty much the opinion from all of the Devils players who spoke to the media after their practice Sunday at the Toyota Sports Center, save for Brodeur, of course. They don't know the history that they're embarking on and they don't care about it.
But if they win Monday at Staples Center to force a Game 7 in Newark on Wednesday, they will give themselves a chance to make history, and that is enticing even if they don't want to admit it or think about it in those terms.
By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer For the second time in as many games, the Devils fought off elimination and made sure the Stanley Cup stayed in its carrying case. They forced Game 6 with a 2-1 victory Saturday night at Prudential Center, handing the Kings their first road loss in 11 games this postseason. READ MORE ›
"You know, if you're going to be there, you might as well try to do something special," Brodeur said. "We're almost back in the series here and these are things you have to reflect and be happy about. But at the end of the day, there is only one team that is going to win and they've got one more chance than us."
Amazingly, the Devils don't appear at all affected by the change in momentum in the series or the opportunity that they've given themselves. Their demeanor is the same as it was after Game 3.
They felt they deserved to be in a better position after falling into the 0-3 hole, including back-to-back 2-1 losses in overtime in Games 1 and 2. They understood the reality of the situation, that they had to win four in a row against a team that had lost only twice in the entire postseason, but nobody talked about it in those terms and Elias said that stat was never once brought up in the dressing room.
"There was still a chance and we knew that," Henrique said. "We knew it would be a tough road being in that hole, but it was still something we knew we could climb out of."
They have because now they feel they're getting what they deserved, including bounces, timely penalty calls and big saves from Brodeur.
The Kings have shown their human side, and the Devils have taken advantage with a 3-1 win in Game 4 and a 2-1 win in Game 5.
"We knew that odds were against us and we didn't let it bother us," Parise said of how the Devils felt down 0-3. "We're aware that it is rarely done -- we know that -- but I think we've done a good job of not looking at the big picture. I think we've done a good job of kind of breaking it down trying to win periods and win games. And, that's worked for us so far."
By no means do they feel a sense of accomplishment.
"After losing the third one, it was just winning one game," Dainius Zubrus said. "That's how it was then, that's how it is now."
They don't even think they outplayed the Kings in Game 5.
"We knew that odds were against us and we didn't let it bother us. We're aware that it is rarely done -- we know that -- but I think we've done a good job of not looking at the big picture. I think we've done a good job of kind of breaking it down trying to win periods and win games. And, that's worked for us so far." -- Captain Zach Parise on how the Devils felt down 0-3
Parise called his goal in the first period lucky. Bryce Salvador felt fortunate to get a bounce on the winning goal, which went in off of Slava Voynov. Otherwise, the Kings hit the post three times and had a breakaway chance by Jarret Stoll negated by Brodeur. They were the better and faster team in the first period and certainly in the third as well.
"I thought that was their best game against us," Elias said, "but we came out with the win and that's all we need."
Now they need one more for a real chance. The insurmountable doesn't seem so insurmountable any more. The year 1942 is gaining relevance to guys that never before knew what it stood for in hockey. The year 1945 already has gained significance.
"It's always that story, a team comes back to make history, that intrigues people," Brodeur said. "It's exciting to stay alive. To play a game and be like, 'Wow, we dodged one.' Then to play another one, 'Oh, we dodged another one.' There's not many left. It's been a long ride, but it's been a fun ride. The excitement of what is going on is pretty special for the guys and we just want to keep it going."