The Los Angeles Kings have a second chance to end the Stanley Cup Finals, but will have to do so as small ‘dogs at the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.
Game 5 will see the puck drop at 8:00 p.m. (ET) from the Prudential Center. The Devils are 115 favorites on the Don Best odds screen, with the total at 4½-goals.
The Devils staved off a sweep in Game 4 with a 3-1 win in Southern California. They don’t want the Kings celebrating a title on their ice and another victory would make things very interesting and set up a 3,000 mile trek back across the country for Game 6 on Monday.
New Jersey made an adjustment last game by shooting when they had the opportunity and not overpassing. Goaltender Jonathan Quick was clearly in New Jersey’s head the first three games (two total goals), but showed he could be beat on Wednesday with three goals alone in the third period.
Coach Peter DeBoer’s players did a good job getting to the front of the net. Quick is not going to be beat often with tic-tac-toe plays. The puck needs to get to the net, bang some bodies and get in Quick’s grill. A rebound goal by New Jersey’s Patrik Elias gave the team a 1-0 lead and quieted the raucous crowd.
Resiliency has been a big part of the Devils postseason after trailing at one point in all three previous series. That resiliency showed again last game by surrendering that 1-0 lead after a questionable penalty, but having the fortitude to win even with the Kings’ fans going crazy and thinking title.
Don Best Sports analyst Brian Blessing says the Devils aren’t dead yet in this series even if the odds are stacked against them. Only three teams in NHL history have come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a 7-game series. One of those came in the Finals (1942 Maple Leafs).
The beauty of hockey is that the goalie is the great equalizer. Quick has been a world-beater, while Marty Brodeur has just been very good. If Brodeur can be at the same level as Quick on Saturday, then New Jersey has a good chance to extend the series.
The Kings have yet to lose away in these playoffs (a record-breaking 10-0) and they’re not pushing any panic buttons just yet. However, another loss in Game 5 would change both of those factors and make things extremely exciting from here.
If the Devils can pull off the victory on Saturday, Game 6 would be played Monday night back at LA's Staples Center. As always, stay a step ahead of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and all sports with the Don Best Pro Odds.