After being denied the Stanley Cup on home ice Wednesday, June 6, Kings players talk about regrouping for Game 5 in New Jersey on Saturday, June 9.
The closing of Stanley's Case did not reverberate around the Staples Center Wednesday night, but the Kings still have three more shots, if need be, to keep that box from closing. But still, the 18,000 and those at home watching will have wished the Kings could have wrapped it up Wednesday night.
The Los Angeles Kings gave up their chance of an at-home sweep with a 3-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils.
In a scrappy, disjointed but highly contested Game 4, the Devils finally got one of their prime snipers a clean look. Adam Henrique finally took aim at the space over Jonathan Quick's right shoulder, and that was enough to decide the game. Because there really wasn't much between these two teams other than that.
This game didn't look much different than the first three had for the most part.
The Kings created the better chances, ringing the post twice and missing a couple others by inches. Maybe it wasn't in the cards.
The Devils, though, kept the Kings restricted with the desperate work that facing the abyss always provides. The Kings weren't able to get much going through the neutral zones, more just grappling for the sanctuary out of their zone and then resorting to simple dumps and chases behind the Devils defense.
But for the first time, Martin Brodeur had to outplay Jonathan Quick. And for the first time, he did
All the big saves belong to maybe the best ever to do it, stoning the Kings on the bevy of odd-man rushes they discovered for the first time this series.
As every opponent of the Kings has learned, and will not feel sorry for the Kings having to learn that lesson tonight, sometimes the other guy in the mask just beats you.
So the series returns to a Saturday night in Newark, which sounds like something a judge should be telling you at your trial for shoplifting, right after the word, "Guilty."
No reason that game won't be a scrappy, frantic affair with little passing but a lot of grinding. And it will once again probably come down to a bounce or once chance hopefully falling to someone who can bury it. The Kings have been getting those bounces all playoffs long. They only need one more night of it.
Sam Fels is the proprietor of The Committed Indian, an unofficial program for the Chicago Blackhawks. His work has appeared on NBC Chicago, SB Nation, Yahoo's Puck Daddy and NBC's Pro Hockey Talk. Fels is a lifelong hockey fan and also writes for Second City Hockey.