By Rob Kotaska
The Kings are screwed if they let this series go back to Newark. The Devils have been playing with a renewed confidence since Pete DeBoer placed two veterans back in the line up. Had he not waited until they were in a 3-0 hole this series could have the Red and Green with the stomach knots, knowing that the Cup is in the building, just waiting for them to lift it above their heads and begin the skate they have all dreamed of since their youth.
But he didn’t.
So they are not there.
But surely the Kings, with their road invincibility punctured, need to sew things up tonight. A big key to that would be if their two American leaders, Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick, play as they did through the first three rounds of the playoffs.
Brown has become a target of the Devils, with good reason. When he is healthy he can dole out quite a bit of punishment. The hits he has taken back seem to have taken a toll, as Brown has faded into the mode of play he had before the trade deadline rumors started. Not that it is all of his fault mind you, the dude took a vicious elbow from Danny Clarkson the other night in the defensive zone. All he needs to do is tap into his “Angry Dustin” mode for another 60 minutes and all of those aches and pains from the past two months will fade away.
Jonathan Quick has had a rough two games. Sure the spectacular saves have been there, but like the Kings road streak his invincibility and Jason-like ability to get into his opponent’s head has gone the way of “Freddy vs. Jason”. He needs to make a few, “how the f did he stop that” saves in Game 6 to re-establish that cred.
So if the above can happen. If Brown, Quick and even Anze Kopitar can find a way to dial-up their games to where they were early in the series they get their names etched in the best trophy in all of sports. If not, and they head back to the Swamplands then I hate their chances in Game 7. The swagger is gone, and so is the Cup if this series hits game 7.
“Mark it Dude”
PS: I have been killing Dustin Penner this series. My wife laughs as I pummel his lackadaisical, Andreychuk-like efforts. Here’s hoping I eat crow…