Devils keep Kings from hoisting Cup in L.A., head back to Jersey
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org June 7, 2012 12:28AM
Devils goalie Martin Brodeur and defenseman Marek Zidlicky stop Kings center Jarret Stoll. | Harry How~Getty Images
STANLEY CUP FINALS
KINGS VS. DEVILS
Kings lead series 3-1
All games at 7 p.m. on Ch. 5
Game 1: Kings 2, at Devils 1 (OT)
Game 2: Kings 2, at Devils 1 (OT)
Game 3: at Kings 4, Devils 0
Game 4: Devils 3, at Kings 1
Saturday: at Devils
x-Monday: at Kings
x-Wednesday: at Devils
x- if necessary
Updated: July 8, 2012 6:59PM
LOS ANGELES — New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur didn’t exactly come off as someone who had just played a key role in preventing the Los Angeles Kings from sweeping his team in the Stanley Cup finals.
Instead, he spoke as if the teams’ positions had been reversed when he met the media after backstopping the Devils to a 3-1 victory Wednesday in Game 4 at Staples Center.
It wasn’t just veteran savvy.
“We’re pretty happy to live another day — there’s no doubt about that,” Brodeur said after Adam Henrique’s skill-filled goal with 4:31 left in the third period turned out to be the game-winner.
“We feel that we’ve been playing really well this series but with zero results. ... We just wanted to do more of the same and were able to win.”
Say this about Brodeur and the Devils: They’re not short on confidence. Despite being in a seemingly insurmountable hole, the Devils still think they have a chance.
It’s just that the bounces and breaks haven’t gone their way until Game 4. Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams hit posts for the Kings, an uncertain Jonathan Quick looked over his shoulder after a save and Dustin Brown misfired on a good chance.
Meanwhile, some of the Devils’ top players produced. Henrique, a rookie, scored his third game-winner this postseason, veteran Patrik Elias scored the all-important first goal and star Ilya Kovalchuk added an empty-net goal.
The Devils also showed some resolve after the Kings had tied it at 1 a minute after Elias scored when defenseman Drew Doughty scored on a power play Los Angeles was handed for a questionable boarding call on winger David Clarkson. Fittingly, it was Clarkson who set up Henrique.
“We stayed confident,” Henrique said.
The overall vibe heading into the game was that a sweep was likely. Quick had been too good, and the Kings were doing too many of the right things.
The focus in L.A. seemed to be on how the Kings had transformed the city into a sure-fire hockey town with their dominant run at the Cup.
The problem is somebody forget to clue in the Devils, who never should’ve been counted out. After all, they did lose Games 1 and 2 at the Prudential Center in overtime.
“We never give up,” Kovalchuk said. “Our fans deserve to see a couple more games.”
“They believe,” Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. “They’re in the fight. They’ve got a lot of pride. Like I said, we’ve been in adverse spots before where we’ve played two or three games and haven’t gotten rewarded.”
The Devils talked for days about needing to get the first goal on Quick, who has put together a Conn Smythe-worthy postseason. Elias got it 7:56 into the third when Quick yielded a rebound, and he was left uncovered.
But it was Henrique’s brilliant skate-to-stick goal that stung for Kings coach Darryl Sutter. Not only was it the game-winner, but it came off a gaffe in the neutral zone.
“Henrique’s goal? It’s a turnover,” Sutter said. “Misplay between the defensemen. Not a coverage play. Can’t make those long passes and think you can get away with it.”
Now the Devils hope they’ve put some doubt in the Kings’ minds.
“You hope so; that’s the plan,” DeBoer said. “We’ve got to take it home and take care of business now and win another one.”