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|DeBoer confident despite being down 0-2|
|Written by Frank Seravalli|
|Monday, 04 June 2012 18:15|
Pete DeBoer was sitting at the podium in Los Angeles, a full 2,783 miles away from where he was less than 24 hours prior, when he was in Newark, N.J., trying to explain his Devils’ stunning 2-0 hole in the Stanley Cup final.
It is a place the battle-tested New Jersey Devils have not been this season in any series.
The numbers say one thing.
You know, that the Devils need to win four out of the series’ remaining five games and that only five teams in 47 tries have erased a two-game deficit in the 83-year history of the Stanley Cup final round.
That the Devils have never led at any point in this series. That the Los Angeles Kings have lost just twice in this playoff run and would need to lose four out of the next five to completely and utterly fall apart. That in all the major professional series sports – NHL, NBA and MLB – the team that escapes with a 2-0 lead goes on to win the championship series 86 percent of the time (110-for-128).
You could go on and on forever with the statistics. No one is questioning that the numbers dictate that the Devils are up a creek without a paddle.
But the numbers do not actually tell the entire story, at least not in the wins and losses column in this round.
Through two games at the Prudential Center, you could certainly make the argument that the Devils outplayed the Kings 60 to 70 percent of the time. They lost both.
That was the cause for optimism on Sunday, regardless of what the numbers said.
“You have two, 2-1 overtime games,” DeBoer said. “Shots are relatively even. Scoring chances are relatively even through two games. I mean, we could be in a different situation. We’re not.
“We know we can play with them and we feel we have another level to go here. I know you guys (media) are going to spit out stats that it’s an impossible mountain to climb. That stuff is irrelevant.”
It may not be completely irrelevant, but DeBoer has a point. One bounce or two of the puck and the Devils are either leading by two games or heading West and tied at the very least.
For some New Jersey players, it must have been tough to get sleep after Games 1 and 2 in Newark. And not just because of the bright lights of hockey’s biggest stage.
Poor Mark Fayne, he probably didn’t sleep a wink after missing that wide-open empty net in the third period of Game 1. Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise both whiffed on huge opportunities in Game 2.
New Jersey has had plenty of juicy scoring chances that it hasn’t converted, leaving Jonathan Quick look like the odds-on Conn Smythe favorite after allowing two goals in the first two games.
Truthfully, Quick hasn’t even had to work for either of his two wins; he’s just gotten lucky on the times that he has been beaten.
“The opportunities have been there, we just haven’t capitalized on them,” Parise said Sunday. “Not to take anything away from Quick, he’s playing really well. He’s making the saves. Each game, pucks haven’t gone in the net. That’s the difference between standing here and answering this question or (the media) saying you played a great game (Saturday) night.”
Interestingly, none of the talk out of the Kings’ microphone on Sunday’s off-day, as the series shifted from coast-to-coast overnight, was about New Jersey’s solid effort. The most anyone got out of coach Darryl Sutter was that both teams “played better” after a jittery Game 1.
So far, the Kings have jumped out to a 3-0 series lead in each of their first three conquests on their way to the final. If the Devils win Game 3 at Staples Center, perhaps a smidgen of doubt will creep into the Kings’ minds.
Hey, it’s all the Devils have left, with all these numbers staring them in the face.
“We really believe we can win a game (Monday) night,” DeBoer said. “If we do, it’s a different series.”
Frank Seravalli covers the Flyers for the Philadelphia Daily News. On Twitter: @DNFlyers
Photos by Getty Images
|Last Updated on Monday, 04 June 2012 19:56|