Sports fans are well aware that being down 3-0 in a best of seven series gives that team almost no hope of a comeback. In fact, it has happened only four times in the history of sports. Fortunately, for the New Jersey Devils, who won their first game last night and are now down only 3-1 in the series, three of them happened in hockey. Beating the Los Angeles Kings three more times in the Stanley Cup Finals is still a huge challenge.
The Devils avoided a sweep due to great goaltending by Martin Brodeur and the stagnant Kings offense. The Kings completely controlled the second period, but managed only seven shots. There was a 14-minute stretch at the end of that middle period where the Devils had no shots.
The Kings were supposed to win this series due to their scoring, with the goaltenders making up the difference. So far, Los Angeles has managed more than one goal in regulation just once, scoring three in game three. They lead this series due to two overtime wins and the strong play of goaltender Jonathan Quick.
That’s where Martin Brodeur comes into play. While he has not been brilliant in the Stanley Cup Finals, he has had only one bad game, losing the other two in overtime. If he steps up his intensity and plays out of his mind, the Devils still have a chance in this series. Brodeur still believes he can win this thing for the Devils if his 18 skaters will score, as he said prior to the game 4 victory:
“We have to find a way to score goals. I try to give these guys a chance to win. I’ve done that in the first three games. At the end of the day, it’s hard to win games when you don’t score many goals. I try to be perfect but the other guy is a little more perfect than me.”
Brodeur got just enough from his offense in game four and is happy to take the Kings back to New Jersey. As he said, “You know, I think we wanted to make them jump on a plane and come to New Jersey. We had to go anyway. Might as well get a game over there.”
The likelihood of the Devil’s winning this series is still extremely slim. It has only happened four times in sports history. The most recent was in 2010, when the Philadelphia Flyers came back against the Boston Bruins. Of course, the only 3-0 comeback outside of hockey was by the Boston Red Sox, on their way to the World Series in 2004, over the New York Yankees. However, if the Kings cannot find their offensive ability and Brodeur continues to play outstanding in net, this could be the Devils’ series and perhaps Marty’s last cup.