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Goaltender Martin Brodeur and defenseman Bryce Salvador were big factors in Game 5, where the Devils defied the odds and made the Stanley Cup Finals interesting.
New Jersey Devils' captain Zach Parise didn't have a great start to this series, with no goals through three games, and the assembled press let him hear about it. Jersey head coach Peter DeBoer basically thanked the media for doing so after the Devils' Game 5 victory, in which the free agent-to-be got a huge goal to start the scoring in the Devils' 2-1 win.
In response to questions about Parise's performance tonight, DeBoer playfully said after the game that "you guys [in the media] pissed him off, so keep talking."
Maybe if they point out any possible flaws (there were few, if any) he showed during this terrific game to extend the series, he'll go out and win the entire rest of the series by himself.
Parise is emblematic, however, of the Devils response to a 3-0 hole that had a lot of people questioning a lot of players about their subpar performances. New Jersey has kept an even keel, and finally seen the bounces go their way. And Parise's first goal (aside from empty netters) since Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals was clearly a huge boost.
The Los Angeles Kings were going back to California regardless. They were hoping they'd do so on a champagne-soaked airplane with a good friend named Lord Stanley, but instead it's gonna be a somber six hour flight. The New Jersey Devils have lived to see another day, and they'll also board an airplane in preparation for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals at Staples Center on Monday night.
Bryce Salvador scored the game-winning goal at the 9:05 mark of the second period and the Devils, led by a vintage performance by Martin Brodeur, somehow held off the Kings in the third period. Los Angeles came the strongest in the final minute, peppering Brodeur with shots from all angles on their final shift of the hockey game. There was plenty of open ice for the Kings to work with a player from each team in the penalty box and Jonathan Quick on the bench for an extra attacker, but in the end Brodeur and the Devils were just too much for L.A. to handle.
Zach Parise opened the scoring at the 12:45 mark of the first period with a power play tally, his first of the series. Justin Williams was perhaps the most dangerous forward on the ice in the hockey game and he tied the score at 1-1 early in the second period, but Brodeur really was the difference in a dramatic New Jersey victory.
We have a series on our hands, and the Kings finally have a road loss on their hands in these playoffs. Now, they'll try to win the Cup at home in Game 6. If they don't, there's going to be a lot of panic around Southern California.
Martin Brodeur's in the middle of a Stanley Cup Finals game. His team is facing elimination and he's playing one of the best games of the season, single-handedly keeping the New Jersey Devils season alive and making us all feel like we're in the 1990s again.
Jeff Carter is a member of the Los Angeles Kings, and of course, he's trying to get Brodeur off his game a little bit. You usually don't see goaltenders get this involved in physical play, but Marty decided to do so late in the third period, and Carter was there to hold him back.
Ilya Kovalchuk only has an empty net goal in the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals, but he's coming closer, and has probably looked his best in the series tonight. Jonathan Quick has been out of his mind for much of the playoffs, however, and robbed Kovalchuk with a great glove grab to keep it 2-1 New Jersey in Game 5.
The save came on a heck of a sequence of hockey, as Marek Zidlicky made a big hit on Mike Richards to stop a potential breakaway. On the ensuing rush, Kovalchuk took a great pass and got as good a head of speed as he has in a long time. But the shot was into the glove of Quick, who casually held for a whistle, and tossed it off.
The Devils power play didn't look wonderful, but again, they are getting more high-quality chances than in past games.
The Kings have completely controlled the third period and it seems like they’ll tie this thing at any point. But somehow, the Devils are holding them off with help from a) Martin Brodeur and b) his goal posts.
Now, Dustin Brown’s committed a cardinal sin: A penalty taken 200 feet away from his own net. The Kings had control of the puck deep in behind Martin Brodeur, yet Brown took a silly, needless holding the stick penalty. Penalties kill momentum, even when the opposition has an awful power play unit. More importantly, time ticks off the clock for L.A.
The New Jersey Devils will have a full complement of defenders on the ice to try and hold their 2-1 lead in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals, as Anton Volchenkov has returned. Volchenkov took a stick to the face from Mike Richards in the second period.
The Los Angeles Kings are losing after 40 minutes in their second consecutive chance to clinch their first Stanley Cup.
The Devils took the lead on a Bryce Salvador goal to make it 2-1 through two periods at the Prudential Center in Newark. This was after L.A. had tied the game on a terrific wrister from the slot by Justin Williams. All in all, New Jersey had a better period than the first, outshooting the Kings 12-9 in the middle frame. The teams are tied in shots at 16 overall.
The Devils still have to kill off 38 seconds of Salvador's high-sticking minor as we enter the third. Salvador caught Simon Gagne up high on a follow through. The Devils did a solid job of killing the first 1:22 of disadvantaged time, blocking a ton of shots and making the middle of the ice unavailable.
Los Angeles hasn't been short of chances, but Marty Brodeur is having yet another great game in a playoffs that have been full of them. The 40-year old netminder had no chance on the Williams goal, but made several other great saves in the period to keep the Kings at one goal.
So to the third period we go. Los Angeles needs a comeback, though far from an impossible one, to win their first Stanley Cup since coming into existence in 1967. New Jersey's 20 minutes away from making this series very interesting, and sending it back to Los Angeles for a Game 6 on Monday night.
If the Los Angeles Kings come back to win Game 5 — and thus also win a little thing called the Stanley Cup — we’ll be seeing a lot of this save over the next few months.
It looked as though Los Angeles had tied the score following a Devils penalty for delay of game, but well … you’re not allowed to do this, Jarret Stoll.
Great call by the officials to realize the stick was over the crossbar. In fact, all four officials seemed to make the call in unison. Rather impressive. Also impressive hand-eye from Stoll, but you don’t get points for that in this game.
Martin Brodeur certainly gets points for everything he’s done so far in Game 5 though. The Kings are rolling and have seen a ton of sustained pressure in the Jersey end of the ice, but Brodeur is keeping the Devils in this game — and in effect the series as well.
Bryce Salvador had no goals and nine assists playing the full complement of 82 regular season games in 2011-12. With his tiebreaking goal in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals, he now has 14 points in the playoffs, including four goals.
Salvador took a mere harmless wrister and had Slava Voynov and David Clarkson trafficking in front. The puck appeared to go off of Voynov and past Jonathan Quick to make it 2-1 New Jersey.
Salvador is now tied for the lead in scoring among defensemen with Los Angeles' Drew Doughty at 14 points. Surely, Doughty's offensive contributions could be counted on in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but Salvador's are a total surprise.
Martin Brodeur has had questionable post-seasons in the past, but this has been a revival year for the future Hall of Fame keeper. He proved that yet again, robbing Jarret Stoll on a breakaway to keep the game tied at 1-1.
Stoll got a break off of a pretty terrible defensive giveaway by New Jersey. Stoll had a rolling puck and a pretty hardcore backcheck by Stephen Gionta chasing after him, but Brodeur still made a great move to get low and stop him, and then hold the line from oncoming traffic.
The Kings are pushing though, since the goal, and the next 10 minutes will be huge in this to see if the teams settle back in.
Justin Williams has been the best player on the ice in Game 5 — and that’s for either team. Every shift it seems like he’s made some sort of impact, whether he’s hitting the post or delivering a big hit or developing a solid scoring chance or simply winning a puck battle.
It’s only right that he’s the one who tied up the hockey game at 1-1 with a goal 3:26 into the second period. His fourth goal of the postseason was assisted by Matt Greene, but in reality it was a pretty solid individual effort on the goal. We now have a hockey game on our hands, and the Prudential Center crowd is considerably more quiet than it was earlier in the evening.
The Devils had gone 0-for-15 on the power play in this 2012 Stanley Cup Finals and it had looked absolutely brutal at times. That all changed on a miscue by Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.
Quick made a miscalculation on his angle when trying to shoot the puck around. He sent it off the wrong part of the backboards, and right to Zach Parise. Parise jammed it and Quick was just a half-second late, and the Devils led 1-0. It was Parise's first goal of the series.
It wasn't New Jersey's best period, as they got only four shots, but they kept L.A. to the outside and the Kings didn't get too many big scoring chances on Martin Brodeur, who made seven saves.
The first team to score in each game has won it, so it'll be interesting to see if New Jersey parlays momentum in a period they didn't exactly own into something better. It looked a lot like Game 3 and 4's first periods, except the Devils took advantage of their lone power play chance.
The Kings trail 1-0 and it certainly looks like Martin Brodeur has brought his ‘A’ game here in Game 5, but a subtle — and illegal — little play by a Devils player may have prevented a Justin Williams goal.
On a shift which featured some sustained pressure in the New Jersey end of the ice, Justin Williams lost his stick in the high slot. As he chased after it, a Devils player pushed it over into the corner. Williams went to chase after his stick, and as play continued, the puck trickled just by the post on Brodeur’s glove side.
Williams was just a second too slow in getting to that puck — and a relatively wide-open net — and it’s all because he had to go chase after his stick.
The Devils power play was looking as inept as it had in the first four games of this series until Jonathan Quick gave them a gift.
Quick went out to play a soft dump-in from New Jersey and messed up the angle, sending it right onto the stick of Zach Parise, who jammed it home on the wraparound to make it 1-0 New Jersey at 12:45.
It was Parise's first goal of the series and his first goal against a goaltender since Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals (he had empty netters in Games 5 & 6). It was also New Jersey's first power play goal of the series.
The team to score first has won every game of this series, so a good omen early for the Devils.
Patrik Elias seems fine after taking a big hit from Matt Greene, but a 2-on-1 rush almost turned out ugly for the Devils. Elias dished the puck off in front of the net on the rush, and a solid second or two after he let go of the puck Green buried him with a late hit. Elias lost his balanced and tumbled into the boards. He was slow to get up.
No penalty was called on the play and the Prudential Center crowd certainly didn’t seem happy about that. Then again, Elias didn’t seem to miss a shift.
Maybe the Devils and Kings heard the entire hockey world complaining about how boring this series has been so far. It’s been a bit dull offensively thus far in the first four games, but in the first three or so minutes of Game 5?
Yep, they got the memo. Several hits, more scoring chances than we saw in the entire second period in Game 4, at least by my count. Justin Williams hit a post. Ryan Carter found himself with the puck all alone next to Jonathan Quick.
The pace has been fantastic. If this is what we’re gonna get for the rest of this game, it’s gonna be a fun night.
The Devils and Kings, naturally, put their two best lines out against each other to start Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and both got exciting rushes out of them.
For the Kings, Dustin Brown made a power move to the net on the Devils D, but couldn't get a shot away as he didn't have the handle he wanted. Meanwhile, at the other end, Ilya Kovalchuk was nearly sprung for a breakaway by Marek Zidlicky, but the pass went through his legs.
All that, plus a huge hit by Dainius Zubrus on Justin Williams. Excitement to start Game 5!
For Daryl Sutter, it's about not feeling pressure. For Pete DeBoer, it's about getting a good start.
The Kings and Devils will meet in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals Saturday.
Los Angeles Kings coach Daryl Sutter believes his team played better in their Game 4 loss to the New Jersey Devils than they did in their Game 2 overtime victory.
This doesn't worry him, however, because the Kings' bench boss believes his team is stoic. "I haven't seen a big change in our team emotionally for almost two months now," he said, "I think we've been able to handle different situations. I think they've learned, because of the breaks we had before Series 2 and before Series 3, the breaks they had, they had to learn to get their space, get back to being focused and reloaded."
He said that he mostly leaves the job of keeping the team at room temperature to the players themselves. "They've done a good job of that. You leave it to your veterans, reinforce it with the kids."
Sutter noted that the travel situation (the teams could potentially fly from New Jersey to California three times in the span of six days) is unique, but there are ways to stay ahead of the curve. "The nutrition and the hydration and those things are really important to the players. I think their routine of that is just as important as the time change. What you have on the plane, everybody travels so nice now, it's pretty good. You're checking on the pilots most of the time to see how fast they're going."
He sees no problem, however, with playing another toss-up game, similar to Games 1 & 2, to bring home the Stanley Cup to Los Angeles for the first time. "I think our players have been right on top of it. You can see how serious both teams are."
Adam Henrique wasn’t disappointed that none of the other Devils went with his (and Ryan Carter’s) mustachioed style after his Game 4 winner on Wednesday, but it at least got him some notices after the game. “It was pretty funny,” he said.
Fact is, there’s really no time for the Devils to worry about facial hair with a long flight and a return home for a Game 5 almost no one thought would happen. Though, certainly, they are cherishing the fact that they’re still in this.
“You know it’s going to happen again,” Devils head coach Pete DeBoer said in reference to no one having come back from 3-0 down in a Stanley Cup Finals since 1942, “So why not us? I think that’s the approach. You’re not going to go 200 years without someone else doing it. So it’s been long enough, it might as well be us.”
The Devils had some encouraging signs beyond just eeking out a victory Wednesday. They finally saw some bounces go their way, and into the net. Ilya Kovalchuk says it’s a matter of “having momentum on our side.” They didn’t look at it, however, as if the bounces are finally starting to come. “We don’t look at it that way,” said Kovalchuk, who got an empty net goal to seal the deal in Game 4. “We just really believe in the hard work, and we believe that it’s going to happen to us.”
That said, you have to wonder if the Devils finally opened up the floodgates a bit, getting two goals in very short order against Jonathan Quick in the third period. I asked Bryce Salvador — who broke a long Henrik Lundqvist shutout in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals — if a goal like Patrik Elias’ rebound backhand can open the floodgates. He felt that it wasn’t just Elias’ goal that might be the key, but Adam Henrique’s quick response. “I hope so, it’s one of those things where we weren’t getting too many bounces all series. I think what was more important was the ability to respond right after L.A. scored. They scored, seemingly, on the next shift. I think Henrique’s goal was equally important.”
For DeBoer, it all comes down to execution. “I liked our game [Wednesday],” he said. “We had some breakdowns. They could have capitalized. Our goalie was there. I look at some of the games we lost, we had a bunch of missed shots and opportunities. Resulted in losses. Execution is what it’s about this time of year. The team that executes the best is the team that’s winning these games.”
On the second off-day since Game 4, the Devils appear to be keeping things the same.