Stanley Cup Notebook: Devils step up at right times

Peter DeBoer.
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

The blueprint was not to fall behind in Stanley Cup playoffs.

It is rare, though, that the best-laid plans are followed seamlessly in the two-month long tournament.

The Devils entered Monday night’s Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final trailing the Kings, three games to two. The Devils had won the last two games of the series to improve their record in win-or-go-home games to 4-0 in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs. The Devils beat Florida in Games 6 and 7 (both in overtime periods) in the Eastern Conference quarterfinal to win a series they had trailed three games to two.

“I don’t know if there is preparation [to play win-or-go-home-for-the-summer games],” Devils head coach Pete DeBoer said during his media availability Monday morning. “That comes from within your room. That’s gut-check time. Those are the questions that you don’t know how your team will respond to as a coach until you get in those situations.”

Save for rare exceptions, many of the 82 games that make up regular campaign are rather unimportant. Players, coaches and executives freely acknowledge “anything can happen” once a team qualifies for the playoffs.

The one strength of the regular season is that it allows teams to determine their overall mental makeup.

For a team that entered its fifth do-or-die game of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 4-0 record, the Devils have proved the athletes that make up the Eastern Conference champions are overflowing with character.

“There [are] clues during the year,” DeBoer said. “At different points you get those pressure points — a must win or a big game to end a losing streak — and you see how your team responds. Until you’re actually facing the fact of going home for the summer unless you win, you’re not really sure how you’re going to respond.”

Devils keeping emotions in check

The line between confidence and cockiness is infinitesimal.

It is a truism that the Devils recognize and are guarding against. They understand their two wins in Games 4 and 5 only guaranteed that they would play Monday night. Nothing else.

“I don’t see any reason why we should be overconfident or satisfied. We’re still down 3-2. We’re still in the same spot. One loss [and] we’re done,” Zach Parise said. “I think just having gotten a couple wins, we’re playing with more confidence. But I don’t think that makes us feel overconfident.

“We still know how great of a team they are [and] how much better we need to play to make this thing even go further,” Parise said. “But that being said, we’re still in a really tough spot, having to win a road Game 6 to extend this thing.”

Follow NHL beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman for news throughout the playoffs.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Islamic state issues video of beheading of U.S.…

The Islamic State militant group released a video purporting to show the beheading of U.S. hostage Steven Sotloff, the SITE monitoring service reported on Tuesday.

Local

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

Music

Hear two previously unreleased Adele songs

Missing some Adele in your life? Two previously unreleased songs from the singer have appeared online.

Music

Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…

Gossip

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth apparently love each…

Miley Cyrus may have broken off her engagement to Liam Hemsworth almost a year ago, but that doesn't mean she doesn't still have feelings for…

The Word

The Word: Charlize Theron isn't perfect, so stop…

We've been thinking a lot about famous women's bodies this week, obviously, so here's some food for thought to go with all that virtual ogling.…

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels take control, Tigers and…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels take control, Tigers and Giants climb

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

Wellbeing

Jason Hope helps push anti-aging efforts forward

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article When it comes to age-related illness, the direction of modern medicine seems more reactive than proactive. In…

Wellbeing

Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…