With the entire hockey world expecting to see the Stanley Cup presented to the Kings once they completed the sweep on Wednesday night, the Devils played spoilers with a 3-1 win. That sent the series back to Newark for tonight's fifth game, and may have created just enough momentum to get people thinking about a comeback.
Can the Devils pull it off? History says probably not. After all, only three teams in NHL history have come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series. But New Jersey has taken the first step, and they can extend the season again with another win tonight.
More hockey is always a good thing, so I want to help. Since my market research shows that the entire New Jersey Devils organization is made up of faithful DGB readers, I've put together a list of tips for them on coming all the way back from a 3-0 series deficit.
DO: Explain to younger teammates that while coming back from 3-0 is difficult, it has been done in the past by teams like the 1942 Maple Leafs, 1975 Islanders and 2010 Flyers.
DO NOT: Be surprised when those younger teammates just stare at you in stunned silence, since it will be the first time they've ever heard of the Leafs or Islanders winning in the playoffs.
DO: Closely study film from Game Four to try to determine why you were able to score twice in 23 shots against Jonathan Quick after struggling so much offensively in the first three games.
DO NOT: Become discouraged when you realize it's because he played the entire game with his eyes closed "to make it more challenging".
DO: Attempt to draw inspiration from any sports fans you meet by asking them to tell you all about any recent examples of their favorite team being down 3-0 in a series.
DO NOT: Ask anyone wearing a Red Sox cap, unless you have nine hours to kill and/or a cyanide pill handy.
DO: Attempt to track down players from the 2010 Flyers, since as the most recent team to come back from being down 3-0 they could probably pass on some useful advice.
DO NOT: Be too quick to believe Jeff Carter and Mike Richards when they swear to you that the secret to a comeback is repeatedly shooting the puck at your own net when your goalie isn't looking.
DO: Feel good about all the supportive phone calls the Devils have been receiving from other teams around the league.
DO NOT: Stop to wonder why those calls always come from general managers, are only made to Zach Parise, and always seem to involve frequent use of the phrase "dump truck full of money in three weeks".
DO: Remember that the Blackhawks almost came all the way back from three down against the Canucks last year before losing game seven in overtime.
DO NOT: Employ Chris Campoli on your hockey team. That's not even really related to the point above, it's just generally good advice for everyone.
DO: Realize that while the 1942 Maple Leafs may have made their comeback during the Stanley Cup final just like you're trying to, it's a difficult comparison to make because the NHL was a very different league seventy years ago.
DO NOT: Follow up on this realization by turning to Martin Brodeur and saying "Hey, you were a rookie that year, what was it like?"
DO: Draw inspiration from diehard New Jersey fans who are still supporting you. Look, that one guy is even wearing a devil costume!
DO NOT: Notice that the costume seems especially realistic, and the guy only seems to show up long enough to laugh evilly while watching Adam Henrique sign some sort of document every time a game reaches a crucial moment.
DO: Enthusiastically remind everyone in the Devils' dressing room that if you can win tonight and send the series back to Los Angeles, you'll find yourself just one big pair of wins away from winning the Stanley Cup.
DO NOT: Make it awkward when Peter DeBoer hears the phrases "Los Angeles" and "one big pair" and suddenly gets flustered, shouts "I have no idea what you're talking about", and rushes out of the room.
DO: Remember that even if you do lose and end up watching the Kings accept the Stanley Cup, you can always say "Maybe next year!"
DO NOT: Ask Donald Fehr what Gary Bettman meant when he overheard you and mumbled "Um, yeah, about that…"