It wasn’t an overtime winner, but it sure felt like it.
Adam Henrique’s game-winning goal in the latter stages of Game 4 lifted the Devils to a 3-1 win that saved the team’s season and forced a Game 5 back in Newark on Saturday.
The first two periods were a back-and-forth chess match with neither team able to strike first and get on the board. The third period, however, featured more scoring in a single period than we’ve seen in this Stanley Cup Final.
Patrik Elias got the Devils on the board midway through the final frame when he poked home a rebound past a sprawling Jonathan Quick. The 1-0 lead didn’t last long for the Devils, as Drew Doughty’s rocket from the blue line beat Martin Brodeur five-hole to knot the game at 1-1 with 11:04 remaining.
As the third period wound down, it felt more and more like overtime. That’s when the Devils found their hero – the same one that has stepped up this postseason.
Henrique scored the series-clinching overtime goals in the first and third rounds, knocking out Florida and rival New York in the process. His overtime heroics had made up for two of his three playoff goals heading into Wednesday’s Game 4.
With 4:31 remaining in regulation, Henrique took a cross-ice pass from David Clarkson and buried a wrist shot short-side on Quick, who is still the current frontrunner for the Conn Smythe despite a rare loss on Wednesday.
Henrique’s goal took the air out of a raucous home crowd in Los Angeles that had expectations of partying through the night. Instead, both teams will board a plane back across the country to play in Saturday’s Game 5.
After this game, the Kings have now lost just three games all postseason – all of which were in a Game 4. Leading 3-1 in the series, they now have the chance to complete win an NHL-record 11 road games and win their first ever Stanley Cup in the same game. Given their perfection on the road this spring, it would only be fitting for the Kings to win the Cup away from home.
But as Game 4 proved, the Devils, who still have never been swept in a playoff series, are not going to go away quietly. They have a lot of veteran leadership in that locker room that can carry them in tough moments.
It was only one win, but the Devils now feel they will be back in this series if they capture a win in Game 5. However, they’ll have to do it against a Kings team that can’t lose on the road.
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