Rooting for your favorite team can be a wild ride. Any hockey fan will tell you that.
You celebrate all the highs and commiserate over all of the lows. It’s never simple. Great teams sometimes struggle. Awful teams sometimes prevail. And just when you think you know how a game or a series is going to turn out, everything changes.
No one expected the eighth-seeded Kings to make it very far in the playoffs, let alone to the Stanley Cup Final. They’ve been breaking records and making history, and it’s been a great ride so far for both the organization and the fans. It could all culminate tonight, when the Kings take on the Devils in Game 6 on home ice.
For the most part, it seemed like this journey to the Cup was easy as pie for Darryl Sutter’s squad. Heading into Game 5, they were undefeated (10-0) on the road, and had only lost three of 18 postseason games. Jonathan Quick was carrying the team on his back with incredibly impressive performances in net. They were getting timely offensive production and great protection around the net. Not much has changed between then and now.
However, some things have changed. The Kings were finally defeated on the road by their desperate opponents, eager to not have the Cup awarded to the opposition on their ice. Marty Brodeur has tightened up his game and come up with some huge saves to keep the Devils out of trouble. The Devils are pressing, and captain Zach Parise is charged up. After three games, it looked like New Jersey was all but done. Now, this could be anyone’s series.
There is pressure on both teams. Los Angeles needs to regain momentum over this series and finish the Devils once and for all. They’re only one win away from winning it all, and they need their next 60 minutes of play (or more, based on what we’ve seen so far this series) to go in their favor. The Devils need to keep pushing. They’ve started the climb back from being down 3-0 in a series and can have it all tied up with a win on Monday.
Even though the Kings only need one more W, the Devils only need two. Both can be elusive in their own fashion. It’s a close series, and Los Angeles needs to stop the Devils train in its tracks. The pieces are in place, and the puck is in their court.
Your move, Kings.