Back To Los Angeles: Devils Somehow Hold Off Kings, Force Game 6 With 2-1 Win

The Kings first road loss of these 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs is hope for the New Jersey Devils. They staved off elimination with a big 2-1 win in Game 5 of the Finals.

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Martin Brodeur, Bryce Salvador Help New Jersey Devils Defy Odds, Force Game 6

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.

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Stanley Cup Finals 2012: 'Pissed Off' Zach Parise Leads Devils To Game 5 Win

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.

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Stanley Cup Finals 2012: Devils Hold Off Kings, Force Game 6 In L.A.

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.

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Martin Brodeur Gets 'Sweatered' By Jeff Carter

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.

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Zach Parise Cashes In On A Jonathan Quick Miscue For New Jersey's First Power Play Goal Of The Series

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.

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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.

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Stanley Cup Finals, Game 5: Teams Making No Changes As Kings Take Second Shot At Winning The Cup

For Daryl Sutter, it's about not feeling pressure. For Pete DeBoer, it's about getting a good start.

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Stanley Cup Finals 2012, Devils Vs. Kings Game 5: Game Time, TV Coverage And More

The Kings and Devils will meet in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals Saturday.

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Sutter Knows Kings' Demeanor Won't Change

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."

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Devils Don't Change Focus Level, Facial Hair Before Game 5

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.”

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No Changes To New Jersey Devils Lineup Expected In Game 5

On the second off-day since Game 4, the Devils appear to be keeping things the same.

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