NEWARK -- For a team that needed a third-period rally just to avoid being swept in the Stanley Cup Final, the New Jersey Devils are cool and confident as they prepare for Game 5.
Martin Brodeur's goaltending and three third-period goals gave the Devils a 3-1 win at Los Angeles on Wednesday night. The Devils won by doing the things they say they've been doing the entire series -- and with some bounces appearing to go their way on Wednesday, their coach and players all see an opportunity to gain some momentum as they prepare for Game 5 at Prudential Center on Saturday night (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).
"We're playing fine. It's just the pucks not going in. But I think we're playing fine. I don't think we need to change anything about what we're doing," captain Zach Parise said after the team returned from L.A. on Thursday. "We're working hard, we're doing a decent job at spending time in the offensive zone. We just need to score -- then we don't have this conversation."
With elimination staring them in the face in Game 4, the Devils did several things they hadn't done all series. It started with Patrik Elias' third-period goal, which gave New Jersey its first lead of the Final. When Adam Henrique scored with 4:31 left in regulation to give the Devils a 2-1 lead, they matched their goal output from the previous three games combined. Star forward Ilya Kovalchuk earned his first point of the series by clinching the victory with an empty-net goal.
Though they're still just one loss away from elimination, the Devils are looking to harness the momentum gained from a third period that may have saved their season.
"I know it's a cliché, but I think if we win Saturday night, this series really takes a turn," coach Peter DeBoer said. "You've still got a pulse, you're still alive. The alternative is you're going home for the summer. There is some life. These guys enjoy being around each other. I saw that even when we were down 3-0. They haven't lost that."
With a two-day break between Games 4 and 5, there didn't appear to be any wavering from a club looking to take the next step on the way to a historic comeback. That may have been especially true of Henrique; New Jersey's youngest player trimmed his playoff goatee earlier Wednesday, then went out and scored his third game-winning goal of the postseason.
"We know within the room that we have the personnel to complete this comeback. I think there are a lot of people out there who don't believe we can do it. But it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks. It matters what we think in the room," Henrique said. "Every game is do or die now, it's always Game 7 for us. We have the confidence in the room that we can do it. There's no questions. It's going to be tough obviously, but we're fully prepared to do it."
Author: Tal Pinchevsky | NHL.com Staff Writer