There is no Tug McGraw on the Devils. There’s no one in that dressing room who is very vocal and screaming out “Ya Gotta Believe.”
Instead, you have a silent belief. A faith that if New Jersey plays its game right, it will prevail in seven games.
Tonight you saw that in the first two periods, with the Devils playing desperate, fighting back and winning Game 5, 2-1, to cut the Los Angeles Kings lead to 3-2 in the best of 7 Stanley Cup Final.
“We’re still alive,” said goaltender Martin Brodeur. “We have a chance. It’s not a difficult thing to get yourself ready for games like that. Now it’s been two in a row. It drains you a lot. It takes a lot out of you. But it’s worth it.
“I think at the end of the day, that’s what the guys are concentrating on, getting themselves ready, leave everything out there. We’ll see where everything’s going to fall.”
The Devils are trying to become the first team since the 1945 Maple Leafs to come back and win the Cup after trailing 0-3 in the final. Don’t tell them that though. Rather for New Jersey, it’s just about winning games. They know they could have been up 3-1 in this series going into Game 5 with a fortunate bounce or two.
And they know those bounces even out as well. So now they just play their game because they saw the fallibility of Jonathan Quick in goal tonight on both Devil goals, giving them enough to send the series back to LA.
“I think for the most part, not so much tonight, but throughout the series, we’ve done a pretty good job of not giving them a lot of great opportunities. From an offensive standpoint, that can get frustrating,” said Devils captain Zach Parise, who scored the first goal of the game. “So maybe that’s the case. I don’t know. But I still think that they played a really good hockey game tonight.”
However, it was not enough. The Devils finally gave the home crowd something to cheer about, with the hope and prayer that there is more to come in a Game 7 on Wednesday. They will zip across the country tomorrow and return Tuesday – no matter what happens. The most important thing is for the Devils to take the Kings with them in tow.
“Well, we have plenty of rest in the last two series to be able to travel now,” Brodeur said. “This is the time of year that you don’t care what you have to do to be successful.
“We could have packed it in two games ago. That’s the bottom line.
But you see we have a bunch of resilient guys that want to try to make history and try to win the Stanley Cup. We’re not going to give up, not because of travel or anything, is going to change the attitude of the guys.”
Ya Gotta Believe. The Devils sure do and maybe there is some doubt in the Kings locker room.
Either way we will know in a few days if the Devils make history or become a footnote in it.