Momentum is huge in the Stanley Cup finals, and the Kings just lost it.
They could have ended it clean and ended it swiftly at home. They could have lifted the Cup in front of their adoring and long-suffering fanbase. They could have made life easy on themselves and much less stressful for all involved, but they dropped that chance with they dropped Game 4, 3-1.
The Devils may be facing elimination, but the pressure is squarely on the Kings in Game 5 now.
Don't underestimate what hope can bring to a team with their backs against the wall, especially when the Stanley Cup is involved. The Devils are still alive. They know it, and their fans know it. Everybody in the building will know it come Game 5, and that will make the Prudential Center the toughest arena to play at in the world come Saturday night.
Desperation is a powerful motivator, and the Devils and their fans will be full of it.
Don't let the numbers fool you, at this point of the playoffs you can throw all of them out the window.
The numbers would indicate that the Kings are incredible on the road and they've already taken two on New Jersey's home ice. They would also tell you that Jonathan Quick is becoming one of the best goalies in the league and all they have to do is win one more game. It seems as if the numbers would favor the Kings.
None of that matters now though, because this is a whole new series.
New Jersey has nothing to lose and they're back at home with renewed life. Los Angeles, on the other hand, has the pressure of an empty trophy case and a highly competitive sports city on their backs. Every moment the Devils stay alive is an added moment of pressure on the Kings.
Now it's not just a matter of winning the Stanley Cup, it's a matter of avoiding one of the worst collapses in sports. Believe you me, if and when the Devils win another game, that collapse/comeback storyline is going to be right at the forefront of this series.
This has become a series of one game at a time, and even though Los Angeles has a chokehold lead on it, the Devils now have the positive momentum. The Kings should have captured that momentum for good while they could at home, which would have simultaneously captured the Stanley Cup.
Instead, they let that chance slip away, and now they'll have to face one of the toughest tasks in sports: closing out on a team that has found a glimmer of hope.
This is a disastrous turn of events for the Kings.