Most of the Devils do not have a memory of the events of April 13-26, 1975. But that is not to say that they are not rallying around what transpired 13,556 days prior to Wednesday’s Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final.
For it was on April 13, 1975 that the Islanders beat the Pittsburgh Penguins, 1-0, in Game 7 of the NHL quarterfinal to complete a series comeback in which they trailed 0-3.
The Devils are pointing to the Islanders’ feat as reason to believe they can get back into the Stanley Cup final, despite trailing the Kings three games to none in the series. Zach Parise’s father, J.P. Parise, and Devils color commentator Glenn “Chico” Resch played on the 1975 Islanders.
“He said [he] and Chico are living proof that it can happen. He said they did it twice in the one season,” Zach Parise said during his morning media availability at the Staples Center Tuesday, in response to question if he had spoken to his father about the 1975 Islanders’ comeback against Pittsburgh.
The Islanders fell behind the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Philadelphia Flyers 0-3 in the NHL semifinal series before losing in Game 7, 4-1.
“Obviously, they won the one and lost the other one. He said with Team Canada [in the 1972 Summit Series], they went into Russia [having] to win three games [and] won three games there. He said it can happen. He said things like this can happen,” Parise said of his father’s advice.
“He just said that — just from watching the games — the margin for error right now is really, really slim,” the Devils’ captain said. “All three of the games, we felt like we could have won. He just said, ‘You got to start with the one [game] tonight and then see what happens.’”
Lineup in flux
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Devils head coach Pete DeBoer announced that Henrik Tallinder and Petr Sykora would replace Peter Harrold and Jacob Josefson in the lineup for Game 4.
Tallinder has not played since the Devils’ 5-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 17 due to a blood clot in his right leg. He had been practicing with the team, and DeBoer had hinted during his previous media availability sessions that the defenseman would play in the series.
Sykora has not played since the Devils’ 3-0 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final. He has recorded two goals and four points in 15 playoff games following a regular season in which he finished with 21 goals and 44 points.
“Peter Harrold played great; gave us some good minutes. The reality is Tallinder was a top two defenseman for us,” DeBoer said. “He’s been out for a long time. This is the first time in the last four or five days where we felt in practice that he was up to game speed and a legitimate option. We considered [making a change to the lineup] after Game 2 but our group, I thought, had played such a good game that I didn’t want to change it then. But now it seems appropriate.”
Follow NHL beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.