Devils facing must-win Game 3

Jeff Carter, far right, celebrates the Game 2 winner as Steve Bernier and the Devils skate off the ice shocked.

A semi-circle of reporters surrounded Devils left wing Stephen Gionta a few minutes after his team had dropped Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final, 2-1, to the Los Angeles Kings.

The Devils had performed at a higher level Saturday night than they did in Game 1 Wednesday night, but the final result was the same.

“We just have to regroup and get ready for Game 3,” Gionta said. “We just need to come ready to play in Game 3 and play desperate.”

The Devils enter tonight’s Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final trailing in the series, 0-2. History indicates that it will be extraordinary if the Devils are to win the franchise’s fourth Cup. Only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1966 Montreal Canadiens won the Cup after losing the first two Stanley Cup final games at home.

“It sucks,” Devils rookie Adam Henrique said about the 0-2 hole.

The first 141:55 of the Stanley Cup final has shown the Devils they’ve been overmatched by the Kings’ size and skill.The Kings’ quintet of Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Dustin Brown and Jeff Carter have combined for three goals and four points in the first two games, along with a plus-five rating.

“I think we’ve had to redline our game really from Game 7 against Florida, through the Philadelphia series [and] the Rangers series. I’m not sure there’s another level of emotion or compete in our group. It’s just been consistently bringing that to the rink every night,” Devils head coach Peter DeBoer said Saturday. “You know, if we hadn’t brought or redlined our compete level through those other series, we wouldn’t have survived them.”

Follow NHL beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman throughout the Stanley Cup final.


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