Resurgent New Jersey playing like it’s 1975
Watching the New Jersey Devils attempt to become the first team in seven decades to come back from a 3-0 deficit in the Stanley Cup final is causing Glenn “Chico” Resch to have flashbacks.
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 the New Jersey’s series with the Los Angeles Kings.
The Devils’ television analyst, who was a goalie for New Jersey from 1982-86, was a member of the New York Islanders in 1975 when the team was involved in two series in which they lost the first three games.
In the first, the Islanders rallied from the brink of elimination and won four in a row against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Right after that, the team lost the first three games to the defending champion Philadelphia Flyers, tied the series and then lost Game 7.
The Devils will play at the Los Angeles Kings in Game 6 tonight. The Kings lead the series, 3-2.
“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.”
There’s no panic with the Kings after twice missing out on chances to win the Stanley Cup. At least that was the company line Sunday, as the Kings discussed Game 6.
Many of them participated in an optional skate less than a day after a 2-1 loss to the Devils in Game 5, and seemed upbeat.
“I think we’re a confident bunch,” Kings center Mike Richards said at the team’s El Segundo, Calif., practice facility. “We obviously wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have the confidence. It’s just a matter of playing hockey and getting better. It’s the Stanley Cup finals. And if it was easy, everybody would have a Cup. But it’s not easy. It’s one of the toughest things that you’re going to have to go through.”
Saturday’s defeat was Los Angeles’ second in the last four days, after previously losing just two games in the postseason.
“When you sit down and really start to realize the position we’re in – up 3-2 on home ice – I think most teams would have taken that at the start of the series,” said forward Dustin Brown, captain of the eighth-seeded Kings.
STUART TO SHARKS
Detroit sent potential unrestricted free agent defenseman Brad Stuart back to his original team in San Jose in exchange for forward Andrew Murray and a conditional seventh-round pick.
New Jersey at Los Angeles, 5 p.m., CBUT, Ch. 6/16 (Kings lead series, 3-2)
Did You know?
The team to score first has won the past 17 games in the Stanley Cup finals. The last team to win a Cup finals game after giving up the first goal was the Chicago Blackhawks, who won Game 1 in 2010 after Ville Leino of the Philadelphia Flyers opened the scoring.