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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