06 June 2012

Do the Devils have any chance to force a Game 5 in the Stanley Cup Final?

Darryl Sutter and his Los Angeles Kings are one victory from taking their first ever Stanley Cup and if they win at home on Wednesday night, they will sweep out the New Jersey Devils and become the first champion to sweep their opponent in the Cup Finals since the Red Wings swept the Capitals in 1998 as well as the first ever eighth-seeded champs. With their backs against the wall, do the Devils have any chance to avoid the sweep and send the series back to Newark for a fifth game?

Even as the series stands at 3-0 in favor of Los Angeles, the Devils could easily be up 2-1. Considering the first two games went into overtime, the Devils could have won both as they had chances in both games to win and certainly in game 2, where they were the better team, and not been in this position. So it's not as if the Kings have absolutely blown the doors off of New Jersey.

And in Monday night's beatdown, you could attribute that to not coming to play as a part of New Jersey, as it clearly showed. Losing twice in overtime at home and then have to head out west to take on a red-hot club does not exactly inspiring to come out and play great. To those who say the Devils were shameful and embarrassing in game 3, that takes away from how awesome LA was playing. Their offense was absolutely clicking, their defense was snuffing out many New Jersey shots and Jonathan Quick, in what's certainly not a surprise, was brilliant. Nobody was beating the Kings in that game and the fact that the Devils did not look like they were into the game made it even more apparent.

The Devils do have some hope as overall for this series, they have not been completely dominated, but I would not bet on them to force a game 5. Their offense has to step up big time as their shooters keep on trying to place the perfect shot instead of simply shooting for the net. It's similar to what happened in the Eastern Conference Finals, initially the Devils tried to beat Henrik Lundqvist by aiming for the corners and it was not working. Then they started to throw a lot of pucks at the net and were able to get by New York. When you throw the puck at the net, even if it is not a great shot, you have the chance for a rebound. Aiming at the net comes with higher risk of missing the net and not generating a rebound.

New Jersey has to get something going on their pitiful power play. They went 0-6 on the man advantage on Monday night, even having a minute long 5-3 in the first period, and even worse in the second period, they did not record a shot on net during their three power plays. If the Devils want any chance to make this series longer and force it back to Newark, they have to get some action going on special teams because when you kill off multiple power plays, you get a lot of momentum and the Kings have carried that momentum to this commanding series lead.

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