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JR: Devils still have hope, but Kings in full control

by Jeremy Roenick

LOS ANGELES -- Jeremy Roenick has a great appreciation for the position that the New Jersey Devils find themselves in in this Stanley Cup Final.

It was 20 years ago that Roenick and the Chicago Blackhawks were down 3-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final. They did not win Game 4.

"There is always hope," Roenick, an analyst with the NBC Sports Network, told, "but it's the slimmest of hope."

The Devils will try to do what the 1992 Blackhawks could not on Wednesday. They just want to win Game 4 at Staples Center to stay alive.

Can they do it? Let Roenick tell you what he thinks. Can the Devils do this?

JR: Only three teams have ever come back from a 3-0 deficit. Only once has it happened in the Final, and that was in 1942. They have that going against them. Secondly, they have a team that is just firing on all cylinders right now. Nothing is swaying the Kings right now. They have a goaltender that is setting a new standard of goaltending in the playoffs. All in all it does not look good, but for the Devils they have to try to make history and I think that's gotta be the mentality. They have to be the guys that try to change the record books. They have to first put a chink in the armor. Keep working and try to put any kind of doubt into the minds of the Los Angeles Kings.


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The Sutter family, which placed six brothers in the NHL, is watching and waiting to see if Darryl and the Kings can bring home a title. READ MORE › If the Devils are able to simply get a lead in Game 4, something they could not do in Games 1, 2 and 3, is that enough to put the seed of doubt in to the Kings?

JR: No, it doesn't, because the Kings have been down before in games. But if the Devils get up a couple with the way Marty Brodeur has played, I think they have a chance of stealing one. The problem is who is going to score? Who is going to score the goals? I think Ilya Kovalchuk's back is really bothering him. They're shutting down Zach Parise. Travis Zajac and Dainius Zubrus have disappeared, as has Patrik Elias. They are working hard, but they are not getting any quality scoring chances. You talk about going up a couple of goals, but the question is who is going to do it. There is not one guy right now that you can look at in that room and say, oh, he'll score for us tonight. That's not a very confident feeling. The Devils are making lineup changes, bringing in Henrik Tallinder and Petr Sykora for Peter Harrold and Jacob Josefson. Is change good for this team now?

JR: Yeah, absolutely. These guys have been sitting out, and this is their opportunity to become heroes. Sykora has been there. He's won a Cup. That's experience; you can't teach that. Tallinder is a big strong defenseman. So, you need them to switch it up a bit, make a change, give the guys something to rally around. Maybe it's Sykora coming in and scoring a big goal like he did against Philadelphia. Put yourself in the Kings dressing room right now, what are you thinking?

JR: I think this is the opportunity to put a stamp on one of the best postseason runs in the history of the game. I would not only want to win a championship, I would want to create history. It would tie the 1988 Edmonton team for the best run ever (16-2), but they can eclipse the best goals-against average. You do not want to give the New Jersey Devils any life in order to go back to Jersey and have a chance to play one more game and have a chance to get within one. You want to finish it right away. That fourth game is the hardest to win. They have to say, 'We're in our own building, we want to finish this now,' and celebrate a Cup with their own fans. That becomes really important when you're trying to win the Cup. They will never have a better opportunity in their lives than right now. Now that they are one win away, is the history angle something the Kings think about?

JR: No, they don't think about it. All they have to do is think about one period at a time and continue to play the solid game that they have, and they will create it. When you don't think about the big picture, just the smaller picture, that's when you get so much greatness. I think these guys have taken it one game at a time, one period at a time, and in that preparation of not looking too far ahead they have found themselves on the brink of having one of the best postseasons in the history of the game. I think each guy will be two steps faster because of the opportunity they have in front of them. Will the Kings win it tonight, and who wins the Conn Smythe?

JR: I think the Kings win it 3-1, and I think Jonathan Quick will be the Conn Smythe Trophy winner. Anze Kopitar is right there with him, but Quick has allowed 24 goals in 17 playoff games and that goals-against average (1.36) is unheard of and the save percentage (.950) is off the charts. He's the guy that got them to the playoffs. He's allowed them to roll through the playoffs. It's been every single night with Quick. Kopitar has been good, but Quick has been the main guy every single night.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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