Resilient Devils send Stanley Cup final back to L.A. | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaResilient Devils send Stanley Cup final back to L.A.

Posted: Sunday, June 10, 2012 | 12:37 AM

Back to accessibility links
Devils' Bryce Salvador, right, was held scoreless in 82 regular-season games but has scored four times in 23 post-season contests, including the game-winner against the Kings on Saturday night. (Julio Cortez/Associated Press) Devils' Bryce Salvador, right, was held scoreless in 82 regular-season games but has scored four times in 23 post-season contests, including the game-winner against the Kings on Saturday night. (Julio Cortez/Associated Press)

Beginning of Story Content

When the Los Angles Kings built a 3-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup final, the New Jersey Devils were done. Or so we thought. But this resilient bunch has bounced back again.

NEWARK, N.J. - The New Jersey Devils have proven to be a hardy bunch.

They weren't given much of a chance in most pre-season polls to snatch a playoff spot, and they did. They appeared down and out in the first round against the Florida Panthers, but they pressed on. They weren't supposed to beat the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round or the New York Rangers in the NHL East final, and they did.

When the Los Angles Kings built a 3-0 lead in the Stanley Cup final, the Devils were done. Or so we thought. But this resilient bunch has bounced back again.

After a determined 2-1 victory at home on Saturday, the Devils forced Game 6 on Monday in Los Angeles (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 8 p.m. ET), and are now two wins away from becoming only the second team in Stanley Cup final history to overcome a 3-0 deficit.

"I thought we survived out there," Devils goalie Martin Brodeur said. "I don't think we played our greatest game, but we found a way to win.

"These are important games to win, especially at home, knowing these guys play really well, really solid on the road. They had a lot of jump. We got cornered a few times in our zone. But we made some good blocks, key plays defensively to win this game."

As impressive as the Kings' 10-game road win streak that was halted, the Devils have their own stat they should take pride in. They are 10-1 in Games 4, 5, 6 and 7 in this playoff run. 

The Devils and Kings have a balanced attack and have played a team game to get this far. But there were several individual efforts from some Devils worth noting in their Game 5 victory.

  • The 40-year-old Brodeur was excellent. He had to be especially sharp early, until his teammates overcame their first-period jitters. He took a punch and had his sweater pulled over his head in the third period, and came up smiling. His 25-save effort helped his team live another day.
  • Much has been made that Devils captain Zach Parise had yet to score in this series. But his hustle, and being in the right spot at the right time, allowed him to take advantage of a miscue from Kings goalie Jonathan Quick to score the game's all-important first goal. The team that has scored first in the final has won each of the first five games.
  • Defenceman Bryce Salvador scored zero times in 82 regular-season games, but now has four goals in 23 playoff games, including the game-winner midway through the second period. His shot went in off Los Angeles defenceman Slava Voynov, but Salvador made quite a juke at the blue-line to shake an opponent and get a shot off. "He's peaked at the right time," Brodeur said.
  • Veteran right wing Dainius Zubrus slid to block a shot in the first period.
  • Defenceman Marek Zidlicky put a good lick on Kings centre Mike Richards coming across the middle in the Devils zone, when his defence partner Andy Greene fell trying to chase down the puck.
  • Another Devils blue-liner in Henrik Tallinder turned in a mistake-free game in only his second match back after missing five months because of a blood clot. He played 19 minutes 47 seconds, fourth among New Jersey defencemen.

"We've been counted out right back to last summer and the pre-season predictions all the way through," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "One thing about our group is that they believe that we can win. They believe we can win every game we play if we play the right way.
"It's just a matter of stringing together a couple more here."

We'll find out in the next four days whether this hardy bunch can pull off the ultimate display of resiliency.

End of Story Content

Back to accessibility links

Story Social Media

End of Story Social Media

Comments are closed.