Devils must make history or they're history
The 1942 Maples Leafs. The 1975 Islanders. The 2010 Flyers.
The only teams in NHL history to go down 3-0 in a playoff series and come back to win.
Only the '42 Leafs did it in the Stanley Cup final.
That's the task ahead of the Devils after their 4-0 loss to the Kings in Game 3 Monday night. Game 4 is Wednesday night in Los Angeles, which is now hockey country.
"We're not going to quit until someone has won a fourth game," said captain Zach Parise. "We start over. We've got to win four straight. That's it. That's our approach. Win the next one. That's all we can do."
The Devils won the last six games of the regular season and then the first game of the playoffs. The high-flying Kings weren't part of any of that.
The first two losses, at home in overtime, were clearly close games that could have gone either way. Not so Monday night, where the better team piled up the big margin and moving the Kings to within a win of the franchise's first Cup.
The Kings are the first team to take 3-0 leads in all four series since the NHL went to its all-seven game series format in 1987. They did lose Game 4, at home, to both Vancouver and Phoenix before going on the road, where they are 10-0 in these playoffs, to win Game 5.
You get the feeling they're not going to have to do that this time.
The Devils, who have lost three games in a row for the first time since losing four straight Feb. 24-March 1, have beaten Jonathan Quick twice, once when defenseman Anton Volchenkov's shot bounced in off defenseman Slava Voynov. The other goal was a deflection by fourth-line left wing Ryan Carter in Game 2.
That's it. Nothing from Ilya Kovalchuk, who appears to be playing hurt. Nothing from Zach Parise, who could be playing in his final game with the club Wednesday night. Nothing from Patrik Elias. Go on down the list. Nothing from any of them.
The Devils need a win Wednesday to bring it home for Game 5.
"That's what we're going to do," said Kovalchuk. "I really believe so. We've got to go out there and try to get a win and go back to our building."
DeBoer shuns idea of changing lineup
--After scoring just two goals in losing Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup final to the Kings, the Devils made no lineup changes for Monday night's Game 3. There was some minor line tweaking, but the guys who got the team this far were out there, and they lost 4-0 to go down 3-0 in the series.
"We've got some depth there. We've got some good people that are available to us," coach Pete DeBoer said. "The process we've gone through after every game is watch the tape and who can go in or come out and make us a better team. You don't want to do it (based) on the situation you're in. If a couple of guys had good games last game, just because you lost or are in a 2-0 hole, you don't make changes just to make changes.
"I don't think we're at that point. We don't need to panic and do that. I don't think that is a productive answer to where we're at right now."
--Going from New Jersey to Los Angeles with only one day between games can make things difficult, but the Devils were determined to get on West Coast time as soon as they could before Game 3.
"We came in yesterday. We flew and practiced," coach Pete DeBoer said Monday. "We had a later dinner. You try to keep the guys up until 10 or 11 o'clock if you can. That's the advice. I don't know if it's realistic.
"You want to get on L.A. time as quickly as you can. That's our thought process."
He added: "Probably the biggest difference isn't necessarily the time change. It's the 5 o'clock start (8 Eastern for television). "That's something you don't deal with during the regular season at all. We're not pregame skating today. We're going to meet at the hotel. That throws you off a little bit, but it's a good problem to have if you're dealing with it because you're in the finals."
--The Devils went 0-for-6 on the power play Monday night, including a 59-second two-man advantage (one shot) in the first period. They are 0-12 with the advantage in this series, 2-for-35 in the last two series and 12-for-78 in the playoffs. The Kings have yielded only five power play goals in 69 attempts and scored two power play goals Monday night.
--New Jersey was shut out for the fourth time in these playoffs.
--The Devils will try to become the fourth team in NHL history, the second in the final, to rally from down 0-3 to win a series.
--The Kings have gone 15-2 in the playoffs, 10-0 on the road. They have allowed 24 goals in 17 playoff games. They have scored 51.
--L.A. goalie Jonathan Quick is 15-2 with a 1.36 goals-against average and a ridiculous .950 save percentage in the playoffs.
"Give him credit. He's played well," left wing Zach Parise said. "Their defense has played well. The difference is when we have a breakdown, they capitalize and when they've had breakdowns, we haven't been able to capitalize. That's been the difference in the whole series."
--The Kings hope to become the first team since the 1998 Red Wings (against the Capitals) to sweep the Stanley Cup final.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm not disappointed in our team. We played right to the final buzzer. I don't care what the scoreboard said. We battled right to the buzzer, and we'll do the same on Wednesday night." -- Coach Pete DeBoer after his team lost 4-0 Monday night to fall behind the Kings 3-0 in the Stanley Cup finals.
--G Martin Brodeur, making his 191st straight playoff start for the Devils, was a victim of some shoddy work by his teammates but also might have fallen victim to a tough non-call on the first goal in the Kings' 4-0 win in Game 3 Monday night. Brodeur appeared to have trapped the puck under his pad before Alex Martinez got it loose and slid it home. Brodeur was clearly angry that no whistle was blown by ref Dan O'Halloran.
Asked if his team can rally, Brodeur said, "I think so. It's not the best situation. It is the worst situation you could be in, but we've just got to put our head down and work hard. We believe in ourselves that we're going to compete as hard and the result will be there one way or the other."
--RW Ilya Kovalchuk again appears to have been slowed down by injury, probably his lower back. He has only five shots on goal -- two of them Monday night, both in the first period -- and zero points in the first three games of the series.
"When you're scoreless in three games that's never good," Kovalchuk said. "So you've got to find a way how to score goals. You can't win when you don't score."
--LWs Zach Parise (four shots Monday) and Patrik Elias (one assist) have been shut out by the Kings, while left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky has gone 11 games without a goal, right wing Dainius Zubrus 10 and right wing David Clarkson seven.