The NHL playoffs are all about confidence and momentum and that means the Los Angeles Kings are in deep trouble.
After cruising to a 3-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals over the New Jersey Devils, suddenly the tables have turned after two straight defeats. While it may be true that the Devils are only the third team (and first since 1945) to push the Stanley Cup Finals to six games after falling behind 3-0, it has been done before.
Sure it may have been 70 years since the Toronto Maple Leafs erased a 3-0 deficit, but I’m beginning to wonder if the Devils can join them.
The Kings insane run is beginning to cool, and super-human goalie Jonathan Quick is coming back down to earth. He has allowed five goals in his last two games after allowing only two goals in the first three of the series. The hands down MVP of the postseason is beginning to look human, while the ageless goaltender on the other side of the net is catching fire.
Martin Brodeur may be 40, but he is playing with the reaction time of somebody half his age right now. Aside from the 4-0 Game 3 loss, he has allowed a grand total of one goal in all four other games in regulation. He is in a groove and is arguably the goalie you want to have right now over Quick.
But it’s more than just the goalies.
TV analyst Glenn “Chico” Resch has covered New Jersey all year long and believes that in order to comeback from a 3-0 deficit, certain things have to fall into place, and right now that’s exactly what’s happening (via ESPN):
This series has flipped. When you come back from 0-3, which doesn't happen very often, things have to happen. You have to be as good as the team you are playing. They can't be better than you. If they are better, they are going to have the ability to turn it on and you are just not going to be able to handle them.Not that it's not going to turn again, but I think the Devils have a big psychological edge.
The Devils have racked up a 7-5 record on the road and a 10-1 mark in Games 4 and beyond in this postseason. LA is only 5-3 at home in the Staples Center and is looking at a must-win situation tonight.
If they have to go back across the country for a Game 7 on the road, all of the pressure in the world will be on LA. After falling behind 3-0, the Devils were playing with house money from that point forward.
Not only are the Kings a younger team, but they are trying to become the first LA squad to EVER win the Cup since the franchise entered the league in the 1967-68 season. They are also looking to become the first No. 8 seed to ever win the Cup as well.
So regardless of who wins the series history is not on their side, and now that the veteran Devils are gaining more confidence and the weight of the world is mounting on the Kings shoulders, don’t be surprised if we will be watching a Game 7 on Wednesday with everything on the line.
The Devils have all of the momentum, as it appears the Stanley Cup Finals is shaping up to be an historic one.