Watching the Devils attempt to become the first team in seven decades to rally from a 3-0 deficit in the Stanley Cup Finals is causing Glenn "Chico" Resch to have flashbacks.
Before you get too excited: Resch wasn't a member of the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, the only team in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup after trailing 3-0. But he knows about coming back from big deficits in the playoffs, and is seeing it again in this series.
A former Devils goaltender, who is now their TV analyst, Resch was a member of the Islanders in 1975, when the team was involved in two series in which they trailed by three.
In the first, the Islanders rallied from the brink of elimination and won four straight against the Pittsburgh Penguins, including a 1-0 win in Game 7 on a goal by Ed Westfall. Right after that, the team lost the first three games to the defending champion Philadelphia Flyers, tied the series and then lost Game 7.
Where the Devils' attempt will take them is not known. But it has been stirring for Resch, as well as the current team, which will play Game 6 tonight at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
"I have been walking with the Devils in this series, not so much physically, but psychologically," Resch said. "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."
Resch believes little separates the Devils and Kings this series, and both teams know it. Three of five games have been decided by one goal and a fourth was a two-goal margin because of an empty-net tally. The only blowout was Game 3 in Los Angeles, when the Kings beat Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur with a controversial goal early, and blew the door open in the third, en route to a 4-0 win.
Resch said the Devils' 3-1 win in Game 4 showed them that the Kings weren't invincible. The 2-1 win Saturday in Game 5 showed the team might be destined. Not only did the Devils get the goals, they also got the breaks.
"Ultimately, what it comes down to this time of year is the team that finds the next gear. It's going to have to be everyone collectively," Los Angeles forward and captain Dustin Brown said. "It's not going to be one or two guys . . . And as tired as we are, we all understand what we're playing for and that's a pretty good motivational boost."