Unfortunately, this will sound like chastising — and, even worse, chastising with hindsight — but perhaps now fans and media types can take a deep breath and stop talking about the Kings’ “record-setting’’ run, about championship parade routes and whose name will be on the Stanley Cup. The NHL didn’t change its postseason rules this week. It still takes four wins, not three, to win the Stanley Cup, and three wins don’t guarantee a fourth. Those who were printing invitations to the coronation over the past couple days must have quickly forgotten the first two games of this series, the games in which the New Jersey Devils played the Kings even for three periods each time, and were one decent break away from winning each game. That’s why Darryl Sutter scoffed and brayed last night when asked about the Kings’ difficulty in completing a sweep. It’s sort of like asking a basketball player about missing three out of four midcourt shots. Dustin Penner put it perfectly when he said, “It’s a good lesson for us. And a good lesson for the media and the fans because everybody, I think, was maybe putting the cart (in front) of the horse, to an extent.’’
The series goes on, and the Devils have life. Some of the talk now, most likely, will be about how the Kings are perfect on the road. That, again, misses the point. It’s about effectiveness on the ice, not statistics or history, and if the Kings don’t outscore the Devils over 60 minutes (or more) one more time, they won’t win the Cup. That said, the Kings didn’t do a bad job in Game 4. In total, they generated better scoring opportunities than the Devils did, and they easily could have scored three or four goals. The Kings were also very sloppy in some areas of their game, and will need to get tighter at both ends of the ice. The bottom line remains the same, though: the Kings need to win one more game. What was the key aspect of the Devils’ 3-1 victory over the Kings in Game 4? I present three options at the link below, and you can vote for your choice…
For those who enjoy the traditional game recap, it can be found by clicking here.