It’s time for another list, albeit a shorter one.
The Devils have shown poise, confidence, endurance and and work ethic that has already broken two of the sports medias “facts” – that teams up 3-0 wrap up quickly and that the Kings can’t lose on the road. Both are false. More importantly, successive hockey games in the finals are dependent trials; the results of one most definitely depend on the previous result. It’s called momentum (you can call it luck, or the bounces, or hockey deities, but it’s the result of playing with momentum).
1. The Devils have momentum. It’s simple now: Win one game in LA, then it’s a single game for the Cup. They only have to focus on Monday night.
2. The Kings look tired and are making plays out of frustration or with bad judgement. Salvador’s game-winning goal came when Nolan turned toward the boards, not into the play. Look at the way Henrique blocked shots at the point, and compare to Nolan sliding board-side to give Sal a clean look. Combine with Clarkie’s screen and it was an ugly goal, but a well-played goal. LA has yet to play more than five games in a series, and nothing with this pace. It will catch up to them. The high sticks, late penalties, and bad hits are a sign that there are bad cogs in that previously fine-running machine.
3. The Devils are having fun. You could hear the whooping in the locker room post-game. This is a team that is playing for the pure love of the game, to give 110% every shift. Best comparison: 2004 Red Sox, and Damon’s “we’re just a bunch of idiots having fun” comment.
Look at the fans wearing big moustaches, or the signs in the stands, and the number of people going flat-out nuts for every playoff game. The fans are having fun too, and if it comes down to Game 7, we have the noise advantage.