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Devils force Game 5 by sticking to the plan

by Dan Rosen

LOS ANGELES -- The Devils' plan Wednesday night was simple.

"We wanted to make them jump on a plane and come to New Jersey," goalie Martin Brodeur said after New Jersey's 3-1 win in Game 4 at Staples Center. "We have to go anyway; might as well get a game over there."

The plan worked. Game 5 is Saturday night (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS) in Newark, where there will be no change in strategy.

The Devils are still down 3-1 in the Stanley Cup Final, still facing an uphill climb that only one team, 70 years ago, has accomplished in this round. But, they are also still alive because they worked for 60 minutes for the first time in the Final on Wednesday; because they never lost their composure, especially after Drew Doughty erased their first lead of the series after just 62 seconds -- and because they stared into the eye of the seemingly impenetrable goalie and found a way to put two shots past him.



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"Those first two overtime games, it made it look a lot different than I think what it was," Patrik Elias said, referring to the Kings back-to-back 2-1 wins at Prudential Center in Games 1 and 2. "Hats off to us, we stayed in it. We worked hard. Marty had to make some great saves to give us a chance, and we finally got a couple past him."

"Him," of course, is Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. It's almost as if some of the Devils didn't want to say his name after the game Wednesday for fear that they might jinx themselves.

Quick stopped 85 of the first 87 shots he saw in the Final before Patrik Elias swiped in a backhand off a rebound from the left side of the slot with 12:04 left in the third period Wednesday night.

Adam Henrique scored the winner on a snapper high to the stick side with 4:31 left.

Two goals against Quick in one period -- in less than eight minutes. It's fair to make the analogies to dams breaking or floodgates opening. It's only the ninth time in 18 games this postseason that he has given up two or more goals in a game.

"Finally we were able to score goals on Quick, not many, but enough to win," Brodeur said. "Hopefully that's going to be a good thing for the boys coming home, that we're a little better offensively on home ice."

We'll have to wait to see if they are, to see if the Kings and Quick are rattled in the least. They haven't been yet in the playoffs, and Elias doesn't see any reason why they will be now.

Although the Devils talked about planting the seed of doubt in the Kings with one win, Elias said he doesn't believe one win is enough to plant the seed of doubt in that team, which has been so good in the playoffs and still hasn't had to play a Game 6.

"They know they played well and they could have won this game as well as we could have won this game," Elias said. "I'm telling you, all the games, except for [Game 3], they're tight and very close and both teams could have won them.

"It's a tough situation we're in, no question about it, but all we have to do is keep playing hard," he added. "Just give our best and that's all we really have to worry about. You can't go outside of that or else you'll go crazy."

The Devils don't plan on going crazy because they know the predicament they are still in. It's obvious.

Yes, they are alive. Yes, their season can end Saturday. Yes, the Kings can raise the Stanley Cup in New Jersey's building -- in front of its fans -- and remember, the Kings are 10-0 on the road in the playoffs (including 2-0 at Prudential Center).

"We got a win; it's a big win for us but we have to go back and do it again," Alexei Ponikarovsky said. "Everybody is keeping their focus, and let's go get 'em."

The plan hasn't changed. The venue will, though.

"I'm sure they're not happy to make that trip," Brodeur said.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl

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