Things are looking quite bleak with the New Jersey Devils down 3-0 in the Stanley Cup Final to the Los Angeles Kings. But if New Jersey is looking for any hope in extending the series at least another game, their offense will need to show up when the puck drops at Staple Center tonight.
In Game 3, the Devils could not find a way to put one in the net as Jonathan Quick was perfect, stopping all 22 shots he saw.
“I think last game we played pretty well offensively,” Alexei Ponikarovsky said during Tuesday's off day interviews. “We kept in the zone for long periods of time. We just have to get more pucks in the net and get the rebounds.”
Over the course of the series, New Jersey has only managed to score two goals in the first three games. In comparison, in the first two rounds of the playoffs the Devils had scored eight goals in the first three games and, although a drop-off, they had three goals in the first three games of the Eastern Conference Finals.
A lot of the focus has been on players like Ilya Kovalchuck and Zach Parise for their lack of production in the Stanley Cup Final. The pair lead their team in playoff goals this year, with seven each, yet neither have scored against Los Angeles.
“When the offense struggles, you look at certain individuals,” Parise said when asked about being pressured to produce. “I get it. Yeah, we got to do a better job of scoring some goals, getting some more opportunities.”
“They're playing a really good defensive game, not giving us a lot of room, not giving us a lot of chances. But they are there. The chances are there. You're not going to get a lot of them against these guys, but you have to make them count. So far we haven't been able to do that.”
There has been some speculation that Kovalchuk and several other players are playing hurt. Devils head coach Peter DeBoer believes that everybody is playing injured one way or another, but doesn’t think that the blame should be placed on the shoulders of just a few individuals.
“You guys want somebody to blame for the situation we're in,” DeBoer said. “It's not like that, you know. We're working hard. We're doing a lot of good things. Hasn't gone our way yet. We've got to keep going.”
Tonight is New Jersey’s last chance to extend the series one more game and it will take a maximum offensive effort to do so.
Our podcast 'RLD Hockey Talk' is LIVE every Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 ET/Noon CT. Some of our notable guests in past episodes have been Dustin Brown, Doc Emrick, John Buccigross, Dave Strader, E.J. Hradek, Elliotte Friedman and Jay Grossman.