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Roenick: Kings must beware of a letdown

by Dan Rosen /

LOS ANGELES -- With the Stanley Cup Final shifting to Staples Center for Game 3 Monday night, NBC Sports analyst Jeremy Roenick says the Los Angeles Kings, up 2-0 on the New Jersey Devils, now have to guard against a letdown at home.

"They can't get into a game to try to impress their fans," Roenick told

The Devils, of course, will try to do all they can to make sure the Kings don't have an impressive night. Roenick says they will help their own cause if they get even more aggressive on their forecheck.

"You have to come with all your guns," he said. "You can't sit back now."

For more of Roenick's thoughts on Game 3 of the Cup Final, here is a Q&A he conducted with on Sunday: What do the Kings have to do to win Game 3?

JR: "I really don't think they need to do anything different, but here's why: When you're on a roll like they are on the road and you win in every game, you feel confident. Now they have to guard against a letdown in their own building. They should prepare the way they do on the road. They should have the same mentality. Their power play needs to be better. It has not helped them whatsoever, but they could use it to secure a lead or a cushion, but they haven't gotten any opportunities on their power play so that needs to be better. All in all, though, they have to protect themselves from overconfidence right now. That's about it. They are working hard. They are putting a good forecheck on. They're moving the puck well and extremely smart."


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JR: "I think they're saying the right things to each other. They're in the right mentality. Darryl Sutter has done a great job of keeping them mentally focused and he's preparing them the right way game in and game out. I don't think they look past the game in hand. They take every period, period by period, and they do it with consistency. They are so close to a championship, but coming back to their building, the excitement is high and the place is going to be electric, and the last thing they want to do is play a game to impress their fans." Do you believe they are fully capable of not getting caught up in the moment?

JR: "I'll tell you what, I think it's going to be difficult for the Devils to chip back into this. I see the way the Kings are forechecking and moving the puck. I see the way they are moving the puck to get away from New Jersey's forecheck. I see different guys stepping up to score big goals. And, last but not least, I haven't seen a goalie as technically and as sound as I have seen with Jonathan Quick." Let's flip it to the Devils. They feel good about how they played in Game 2 even though they lost. Is that belief enough to give them confidence heading into Game 3?

JR: "Absolutely. I think they have played well. Let's face it, they are one shot away in two games. They could easily be up 2-0. They can feel confident about that aspect. Martin Brodeur has played stellar hockey. He has been fantastic. They need Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk to find a way to put the puck in the net. You're not going to win if your best players aren't scoring. Zach has 11 games without a point in the playoffs. You can't have that. Kovalchuk just got shut out for the first time in these playoffs in back-to-back games, and unfortunately it's in the biggest series. The best players have to be the best players, and those two have to lead the way.

"But, mostly they have to continue to keep the game plan. They are not far behind. They just need a couple of good bounces, a couple of breaks to go their way." What do they need to do differently?

JR: "They can alter their forecheck a little. With a forecheck, you want the first guy to go in really hard to create the pressure and physical contact. Now in New Jersey's situation, I think they have to have two guys if not three go in at the same time and have the defense step up as a five-man forecheck. They can't sit back. There is no need to sit back now and play strong defensively. You're down 2-0, you need to win. You need to have two or three guys acting as a first forechecker to take away that D-to-D pass and have the defensemen step up." As a player, would you find it daunting to think about how to win the Stanley Cup you have to beat a team that has only lost twice in the playoffs four times in five games?

JR: "As a player, you don't think about what they have done. You're trying to think being the spoiler. Just because they've won 11 in a row, doesn't mean they're going to win the next one. It's breaking that streak to put a little bit of doubt in their mind. Even just a little bit of doubt is good for the Devils. They have carried a lot of the play, a lot of the momentum, but it's just getting that bounce will be the difference."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl

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