NEWARK -- Is raising the Stanley Cup next week highly improbable for the Devils? Sure.
"We know the odds, and the numbers are stacked against us," Devils captain Zach Parise said on the eve of Saturday's Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals, which the Los Angeles Kings lead three games to one. "It doesn't bother us. Our plan is to win the second one. All we were thinking about was to get the series back to New Jersey. Now it's about trying to get back to L.A. [for Game 6]."
At Staples Center on Wednesday, the coronation celebration was put on hold because the Kings didn't stick the pitchfork in the Devils when they had a chance, allowing three goals in the third period as the Devils won, 3-1. The Devils had scored only twice in the first three games.
"We were looking for something to spark us," goaltender Martin Brodeur said. "Hopefully that big win, late in the third period, is something that for them, getting to be so close to it, not getting it in front of their fans, hopefully that will start something. Again, it's a long ways away for us."
It could be a long evening at Prudential Center, given the track record of road overtimes. The Kings beat the Canucks in Vancouver in overtime in the fifth game of the West quarterfinals. After sweeping St. Louis, they edged the Coyotes, 4-3, in Phoenix in overtime of Game 5. The first two games of this series were 2-1 overtime victories here.
But the Devils have been closers, rallying to beat the Florida Panthers in Games 6 and 7 after falling behind 3-2 in the quarterfinals and winning three straight to oust the Rangers after trailing 2-1.
"We've been a team all year that's kind of dipped our toe in the pool to check the temperature before we've jumped in with both feet," coach Peter DeBoer said. "That's been one of our characteristics. As a series goes on, we recognize what's working for us and what isn't. We try and fix those things."
On the road, where Los Angeles has won 10 straight, there is little to fix for the Kings. But could it be the Devils' turn?
Only one team has won the Cup after being down 3-0: the 1942 Maple Leafs.
"You know it's going to happen again, so why not us? " DeBoer asked. "That's the approach."