The Devils still believe they can win the Stanley Cup.
And why shouldn’t they?
After all, the Bruins were in the same position as the Devils last season. But after losing a pair of one-goal games to go down 2-0 -- albeit on the road -- Boston took four of the next five from Vancouver to take the finals in seven.
Still, the Devils can’t afford to look that far ahead. Their goal on Monday night is to beat the Kings in Game 3, then go from there.
Here’s five things that need to happen for them to pull it off:
1. Score first: It may not have mattered in Philadelphia, but it has this series. The Devils have yet to put any doubt in Los Angeles’ minds. Getting the first goal -- especially on the road -- and finally playing from ahead is of the utmost importance.
2. Pelt Quick: The Devils were the better team in Game 2 after being outplayed by the Kings in Game 1. They got shots (33 in all) and traffic (which led to Ryan Carter’s redirection goal) in front of Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick. Re-establishing their forecheck is imperative so that they can generate offense from it.
3. Stars must star: Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise combined for 10 points in the Eastern Conference finals against the Rangers. So far, they have none in the finals, though Kovalchuk did hit the crossbar with 18 seconds left in Game 2. That has to change. Devils coach Peter DeBoer tweaked his lines and has reunited Kovalchuk, Parise and Travis Zajac to try and get his team going. New Jersey only has two goals so far: one by Carter and one by Anton Volchenkov. That isn’t going to cut it.
4. Power up: The Devils are 0-for-6 on the power play during the series. Kovalchuk called New Jersey’s man-advantage “embarrassing” following Game 2. ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside has more on the Devils’ PP woes.
5. Vintage performer: Martin Brodeur has been extremely steady in net, allowing just four goals. Maybe you can blame Colin Fraser’s tally in Game 1 on him, but when Anze Kopitar moves in on a breakaway or Drew Doughty runs circles around your defense, there’s not really much you can do. If the Devils come back and win the Cup, Brodeur deserves the Conn Smythe trophy that eluded him in the 2003 finals.