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Devils' Henrique familiar with 0-3 deficit

by Dave Lozo

-- Adam Henrique has been here before.

During the 2010 OHL Playoffs, Henrique and the Windsor Spitfires were facing a 3-0 deficit in their best-of-seven series against the Kitchener Rangers. Henrique, along with Taylor Hall, Ryan Ellis and Cam Fowler, ripped off four straight wins to pull themselves from the abyss and eventually won the Memorial Cup.

"Four wins in a row isn't impossible," Henrique said Tuesday with the New Jersey Devils in a 3-0 hole in the Stanley Cup Final against the Los Angeles Kings with Game 4 set for Wednesday night at Staples Center.

"It was a couple tough breaks, a couple bad bounces, they got one from the red line," Henrique recalled about the 3-0 deficit he faced in juniors. "It's 3-0 all of a sudden, but we believed in ourselves. We knew we could come back. We got that first one out of the way, then it's 3-2, 3-3, Game 7. Then we got to the finals and sweep the finals. Sometimes it's a matter of getting that first win and getting on a roll."

Henrique's situation doesn't sound all that different than the one the Devils into which the Devils are staring right now.


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There's no denying the Devils were thoroughly outplayed in their 4-0 loss in Game 3 on Monday, but they dropped the first two games of the series on home ice in overtime by 2-1 margins. Following their practice Tuesday, the Devils were all happy with the effort and work ethic shown in all three games, but it's just a matter of putting pucks in the net after scoring two goals in three games.

"We need to. There's no secret there," said Zach Parise, who has zero points and is minus-3 in the Cup Final. "I know how this goes when the offense struggles, you look at certain individuals. I get it. We have to do a better job of scoring some goals, getting some more opportunities. They're playing a really good defensive game and not giving us a lot of room, not giving us a lot of chances. But they are there. You have to make them count, and so far, we haven't been able to do that."

Ilya Kovalchuk has also gone scoreless in the Final and is playing under a cloud of speculation that he is injured. He missed one game during the conference semifinals against the Philadelphia Flyers and has looked hesitant to shoot at times against the Kings -- he has five shots in three games, one fewer than he had in Game 6 last round against the Rangers.

"There are no excuses," Kovalchuk said. "We just have to prepare ourselves for Game 4. We're just going to go out there with our backs against the wall. We're going to go out there with our heads up and play our best game."

Devils coach Peter DeBoer was asked about Kovalchuk's health and defended his star.

"You get this deep in the playoffs, everybody's playing hurt," DeBoer said. "You guys want somebody to blame for the situation we're in. It's not like that. We're working hard. We're doing a lot of good things. It hasn't gone our way yet. We've got to keep going."

DeBoer's sentiment was echoed by his players Tuesday, who all feel one bounce can be the difference in changing the momentum of this series.

"We've played some good hockey and bounces haven't gone our way," said forward David Clarkson, who has had by far the best scoring chances of any Devil in this series. "This is part of the way things go. Bounces will go your way or don't. We have a great group of guys. I thought last game we did a lot of good things and the score didn't really show for how well we played well at certain times."

"We need something to happen, regardless of what it is," goaltender Martin Brodeur said. "A big hit, a nice goal, a weak goal, something. On their side, they've been finding ways for winning. We have to find certain ways for us."

Only three teams in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs have rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win a series -- the 2010 Flyers against the Bruins in the conference semifinals, the 1975 Islanders against the Penguins in the opening round, and the 1942 Maple Leafs, the only team to accomplish the feat in the Final, against the Red Wings.

It's a daunting task facing the Devils, and while the 22-year-old Henrique's comeback at the junior level isn't anywhere close to the same stage as the Cup Final, he knows and believes it can be done.

"We just have to try to get that first one under our belt," Henrique said. "I feel like we're playing well. It's not like we're just rolling over. We're getting our chances. The first two games were in overtime. We're going to come out ready to play. We're not just going to hand it to them.

"We get this one. We go back home, and it's 3-2 maybe. We come back, and anything can happen in Game 7."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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