The New Jersey Devils are trying to become the first team since the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs to rally from an 0-3 deficit in the Stanley Cup Final. They moved one step closer on Wednesday night when serial playoff hero Adam Henrique came through with a late third period goal to put his team ahead for good in a 3-1 game 4 win over the Los Angeles Kings.
The 22-year-old Calder Trophy candidate took a feed from David Clarkson and skillfully moved the pass from his skate to his stick blade and with a flick of the wrists beat Kings goalie Jonathan Quick over the shoulder on the blocker side.
Ilya Kovalchuk added an empty-net goal to finish off the game and make sure there would be a game 5 in Newark on Saturday night.
The Devils scored first when Patrik Elias back-handed a Bryce Salvador rebound home to give New Jersey their first lead in the Finals.
Seconds later, Clarkson was sent to the penalty box on a marginal boarding call. The Kings won the ensuing face-off and Drew Doughty blasted home the game-tying goal just 1:02 after the Devils grabbed the lead.
The Staples Center erupted and it appeared as though L.A. was on the verge on striking again, but Henrique changed all that in the blink of an eye.
Henrique would have never had a chance to be a hero again had it not been for Martin Brodeur and some heroics of his own. Brodeur bent but never broke stopping both Simon Gagne and Trevor Lewis on grad ‘A’ scoring chances. Game 4 could have quite possibly been one of the legendary goalies best Stanley Cup Final performances. Brodeur finished with 21 saves in the win.
”We stayed alive,” said Elias. ”Marty had to work hard, but he gave us a chance. All we’ve got to do is keep playing hard.”
The Devils never panicked and continued to work hard even after the Kings tied the game. It could have been easy for them to throw their hands up and say, “it’s been a good ride.” Not this team with this group of players.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Devils rattle off a few wins in a row even with Quick playing as great as he has been. New Jersey is no stranger to winning streaks during this playoff run.
In the Florida series New Jersey won the last two games to advance. Against the Flyers they lost the first game before winning four in a row and in the New York series the Devils finished with three straight victories to win the conference.
Winning four in a row against L.A. is difficult, but not impossible. New Jersey is not looking that far ahead though. For them it’s about winning each shift, each period and each game one at a time.
“We know it’s going to be a tough task to come back, there’s no quit in the group in here. We know we can do it. We know we can put four together and come back, ” said Henrique.
This group of Devils are definitely not a team you ever want to count out and with the series shifting back to New Jersey the Devils feel like they have the Kings right where they want them.
End the season on four game winning streak? Why not? Stranger things have happened.
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