The New Jersey Devils have been a consistent bounceback team throughout these playoffs. The Los Angeles Kings have yet to lose in nine road games. So what gives in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final tonight?
After a sloppy, jittery opener on Wednesday night in which the Kings won in overtime, the two teams will attempt to develop some momentum when the puck drops at 8 p.m. at the Prudential Center.
But even though it’s just Game 2, the way the Kings have been playing throughout the post season - just two losses against 13 wins - the Devils find themselves in as close to a must-win situation as you can get.
“You realize in the playoffs you’ve got to let it go and that’s something we’ve done all playoffs," Devils’ forward David Clarkson said. “We lost Game 1 to Philly, we lost Game 1 to the Rangers, and our leadership, the coaching staff would always let us know that one is behind us, let’s go out and have a better game.”
Both teams would like to see a better game than the opener that was hindered by nerves and poor ice. With Radiohead concerts at Prudential Center the past two nights, the ice isn’t likely to be perfect tonight, but at least the humidity in the New York-New Jersey area has eased somewhat.
After an eight-day rest for the Kings prior to Game 1 and five days of rest for the Devils, both teams are anxious to get some flow back in the action. Game 3 is scheduled for Monday in L.A.
“I don’t think it’s a perfect scenario, all the days off,” Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. “I don’t think anyone enjoys that - you want to play.
“You get to this point, as coaches you get tired of looking at tape and analyzing it to death. The only release is dropping the puck and playing. It is what it is and you just deal with it the best you can.”
It won’t come easy against the Kings who are a perfect 9-0 on the road these playoffs. With a victory tonight, the Kings would become the fourth team in NHL playoff history to claim 10 road wins in a single playoff season.
“I’m aware of it every time you bring it up,” Kings’ coach Darryl Sutter said. “Other than that, it’s not that important.”