The Time: 8:00 PM EDT
The Broadcast: TV - NBC SN, CBC, RDS; Radio - 660 AM WFAN
The Series: The New Jersey Devils (0) at the Los Angeles Kings (3)
The Last Game: *sobs uncontrollably*If you want to relive the horror, read John's recap.
The Game Specific Goal: It's death or glory right now. While there's the faint chance that they can play for glory, right now they're looking death right in the eyes. The Kings are near-unbeatable right now, and the Devils are just skating under the Sword of Damocles right now. What's left for them? Play for pride. They know they're better than this. They didn't get this far to get humiliated in the finals. At least try to play so you can fight for another day and at least show that you're not pushovers.
The Lineup Change
The Devils are making one lineup change tonight- which is the return of Petr Sykora. While he hasn't played since the Rangers series, he does provide fresh legs. He's also more accustomed to these high pressure situations, as he's played in several cup finals- two with the Devils, two with the Penguins and one with the Ducks. This will be his sixth finals appearance. He should provide a bit of a spark and a bit more than what Jacob Josefson would've provided, as he's the odd man out.
The New Lines
Per TG, the new lines are as follows: Parise-Zajac-Kovalchuk / Sykora-Elias-Zubrus / Ponikarovsky-Henrique-Clarkson / Gionta-Carter-Bernier. There are no changes to the D pairings as well.
Beating the Kings
To be honest, it's possible. The problem is it's very hard to. Unless the Devils can somehow score goals than can penetrate Jonathan Quick's aura of invincibility like they did with Lundqvist, they're likely not going to stop him. The problem the Devils have with the Kings is that they're just so aggressive. When the Kings have the puck they always go to the net. When they don't have the puck they force the shooter to take bad shots or pressure them before they can enter the neutral zone. It's a tough system to beat simply because the skaters just constantly putting pressure on the other team and are always active. From first liners to 4th liners, from Drew Doughty to Alec Martinez.
Everyone's doing something on the ice (side note: WHY DID THE KINGS HAVE TO TRADE JACK JOHNSON?). The Rangers sat back and let the Devils attack. The Flyers didn't have enough right handed defensemen and the Devils abused that. The Panthers lacked experience and high-end talent. The Kings have none of these problems. Really, it comes down to getting the breaks.
It Could Be Over
At the end of this game, the 2012 New Jersey Devils' Stanley cup run could be over. I didn't think I'd be saying this over 9 months ago. Small victories baby, small victories.
What do you think about game 4? Do you think the Devils can win one so that they can at least say that they didn't get swept? Do you think they can beat the well oiled Kings Juggernaut at least once? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading.