Devils’ comeback ends with Game 6 loss to Kings
The New Jersey Devils’ dreams of a historic comeback were all
but dashed less than 11 minutes into Game 6 of the Stanley Cup
Just 10:10 in, Steve Bernier drilled Los Angeles defenseman Rob
Scuderi from behind into the end boards and essentially took his
club out of the game. Bernier was given a major penalty and was
ejected from the game.
”He turned back,” Bernier said of Scuderi. ”I feel very bad,
but it’s a fast game out there, and it ends up being a bad play.
You certainly don’t want to get five minutes for it. I wish I could
take that play back.”
The Kings took full advantage of the 5-minute power play and
scored three times in a span of 3:58 en route to a 6-1 victory that
clinched Los Angeles’ first Stanley Cup championship in the
franchise’s 45-year history.
”It was just an unfortunate situation with a player who plays
the game really hard, and he’s going to have to live with that,”
Devils goalie Martin Brodeur said. ”I don’t think it’s a fair
thing, but that’s what happens when one person has the fate of a
hockey game in their hands. I talked to him and told him it’s not
his fault. I can’t say if it was a good call or not.”
New Jersey trailed 3-0 after the first period and 4-1 through 40
minutes. The Devils had little left for the third period, when the
Kings went into lock-down mode and added two late insurance
”I didn’t want to hurt my team, I wanted to help them,”
Bernier said. ”This is extremely hard. It’s been a long playoff
run for us. To finish on that note, it’s not fun for sure. But
there’s nothing I can do now.”
The Devils were trying to become just the third team to force a
Game 7 in the finals after trailing 3-0. Only the 1942 Toronto
Maple Leafs came all the way back to win the Cup, and New Jersey
was thoroughly thwarted by the Kings in Los Angeles’ third shot at
While it is of little consolation, New Jersey became the first
team in 67 years to even get to a sixth game in the finals after
falling behind 3-0.
”You don’t give yourself a lot of room for error,” captain
Zach Parise said. ”We found ourselves in a pretty deep hole before
we even realized that the finals started. But we didn’t quit. We
really felt that we could get back in it and force a Game 7.”
But Bernier never gave them a chance to take the series back to
”Everybody feels bad, but he shouldn’t. He’s done a lot of good
things for this team,” right wing David Clarkson said. ”There’s
no fingers being pointed – at refs or anywhere else. He threw a
bodycheck. I didn’t think it was that bad of a play. But we dug
ourselves a bit of a hole there and couldn’t come out of it. It’s
tough to swallow.”
Bernier slammed Scuderi behind the Los Angeles net, driving him
headfirst against the boards. The hit left Scuderi dazed and
bloodied before he left the ice under his own power and headed to
the dressing room. Scuderi returned to the bench, but Bernier was
done for the night – and the season.
”That’s what he’s been doing the whole playoffs. He’s been
doing a great job of getting in on the forecheck and finishing
checks,” Parise said. ”That’s why he’s here. That’s what you want
from him. ”It’s just unfortunate that it happened. It’s not his
Kings captain Dustin Brown scored first at 11:03, and Jeff
Carter made it 2-0 at 12:45. Just 16 seconds later, Trevor Lewis
poked the puck past the 40-year-old Brodeur’s glove after Dwight
King’s centering pass squirted through the crease.
”I don’t know if we were salivating when we got that power
play, but we were just determined to capitalize on that
opportunity,” Doughty said. ”We knew that this was our chance to
put that team away and we did just that.”
Adding to the Devils’ frustration was a one-timer by New
Jersey’s Patrik Elias that rang off the right post just 38 seconds
before the first period ended.
Carter made it 4-0 just 1 1/2 minutes into the second period,
beating Brodeur with a wrist shot from the slot.
By then, all that was left to determine was the final score.
Adam Henrique cut the deficit to 4-1 with 1:15 left in the second
period, but the Devils couldn’t get any closer.
The Devils also lost Ryan Carter and Clarkson to 10-minute
misconducts that forced New Jersey to play with a diminished corps
of forwards for large chunks of the game.
Defenseman Bryce Salvador also served a 4-minute high-sticking
penalty in the second period that didn’t produce a goal, but milked
important minutes off the clock.
New Jersey was outdone by the Western Conference champions this
time, and scored only eight goals in the six games. The Devils
dropped a pair of 2-1 overtime decisions at home in the first two
games, and fought uphill the rest of the way.
The Devils were whistled for nine penalties that totaled 47
minutes in Game 6, after coming in with an average of just 8.7 in
the playoffs – the second-fewest in this postseason.
New Jersey recorded only 18 shots on goalie Jonathan Quick, who
won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. Brodeur, who backstopped
New Jersey to Cup titles in 1995, 2000 and 2003, made 19 saves in
”They started to play really hard in Game 5, and they had a lot
of momentum tonight,” Brodeur said. ”The major power play came at
a time when the crowd was going crazy, and they were really feeling
good. Those are situations where before we’d fight through it.
Tonight, we didn’t.”
For the second straight season, the Devils will be facing major
A year ago, New Jersey was left to figure out how the club
missed the playoffs for the first time since 1996. Now the Devils
will have to face the possibility they will have to replace Brodeur
and Parise, who could be on the move as one of the most attractive
unrestricted free agents on July 1. The 27-year-old left wing, who
has spent his first seven NHL seasons with the Devils, is coming
off a 31-goal season.
Brodeur, the winningest goalie in NHL history, has hinted that
he would like to return next season at age 41.
”This season and this playoff run answered a lot of questions
about where my game’s at, and I’m really happy to hopefully
continue,” Brodeur said.
If Brodeur and Parise return, the Devils could be poised for
another deep playoff run despite playing in the tough Atlantic
Division that produced four 100-point teams this season – the last
being New Jersey, which was the No. 6 seed in the East.
”We took down our two biggest rivals, the Flyers and the
Rangers, and we took this series to six games,” Brodeur said.
”It’s disappointing, but it’s been a great season. We came a long
way to challenge for the Stanley Cup from not making the playoffs
”There’s only one team that can win. It’s not us this time, but
we’re proud of what we’ve done.”