Yesterday, I discussed the feeling shared by many hockey fans without a rooting interest in this series that I hoped it just ended on Wednesday night. Adam Henrique put those plans on hold with yet another big goal from the rookie in these Playoffs, and that’s okay, because Game 5 has the better story lines anyway.
From the Kings’ perspective, winning on home ice to complete a sweep of the Cup Final and a ridiculous 16-2 post-season would have been nice, but the team that’s given new definition to the term “road warriors” might just be destined to win the franchise’s first Cup away from L.A., where they can improve on their unprecedented perfection on the road. 16-3 overall while taking 11 of 11 away from home and completing it with a road victory isn’t exactly a bad story now, is it?
As for the Devils, winning Game 4 to avoid the sweep in L.A. was nice, but Game 5 offers so much more. The chance to win another game on home ice, the chance to put an end to the Kings’ road record, and of course, the chance to really make the Kings sweat for the first time this post-season. In situations where a team starts a best-of-seven series down 0-3, the Game 4 victory to avoid the sweep is easily dismissed, but the Game 5 victory to force a Game 6 is the one that really makes fans, the media and probably even the players start to wonder if the comeback is on.
Yes, the Playoffs will continue until at least June 9th, and I’ve already voiced my growing impatience with near summer hockey. But at the end of the day, Game 5 offers so much more in terms of potential and story lines.
One last Saturday night of NHL hockey this season, with the Stanley Cup in the building again, isn’t so bad.
Links? I have a few…
- Martin Brodeur and Adam Henrique, The Old Man and The Kid (canoe.ca). Brodeur and Henrique were the stories for New Jersey in Game 4.
- Instead of airing it out, the Kings let the air out of Staples Center (Los Angeles Times).
- Darryl Sutter didn’t have much to say after Game 4 loss (CBS Sports). I still can’t believe someone asked a question that danced around the subject of the Kings not being able to close series out. When you’re on the verge of a Stanley Cup and haven’t had to play a Game 6 yet, there are no problems closing things out.
- Kings set up Saturday logjam (The Desert Sun). If the Kings win the Stanley Cup on Saturday, they will probably take a backseat to boxing and horse racing in Southern California. Seriously.
- Gary Bettman and booing: A brief history of Stanley Cup ceremony jeering (Puck Daddy).
- Report: Jagr and the Flyers working on extension (theScore.com).
- Jarome Iginla’s impressed with Bob Hartley (Calgary Sun).
- The Oilers gamble on Steve Tambellini (Canoe.ca).
- Jets merchandise scores top dollar in league sales (Winnipeg Free Press). The Jets reportedly had the highest sales of licensed products in the NHL.