The New Jersey Devils are in deep trouble. They’re down 3-0 in the Stanley Cup finals and they just got blown out, 4-0, by the Los Angeles Kings in Game 3 Monday at the Staples Center.
Still, Devils coach Peter DeBoer was defiant when talking to the media after the contest. He was asked if he was disappointed after the Devils squandered a 5-on-3 advantage late in the first period.
“No, I’m not disappointed in our team. We played right to the final buzzer,” an annoyed DeBoer said. “I don’t care what the scoreboard said. We battled right to the buzzer, and we’ll do the same on Wednesday night.”
He got more irate when asked if the Devils need to do more offensively.
“Well, I think that’s pretty obvious,” DeBoer said. “Of course, we need more goals. Is that a question or a statement? Are you giving me your opinion on what’s going wrong? Next question.”
Those remarks come a day after DeBoer said the Devils did “50% better” in Game 2 compared to their loss in the series opener. In his eyes, the Devils seem to be marching upwards even as they edge towards the brink of elimination.
To be fair, there is an argument to be made that the Devils did show signs of improvement after Game 1 – but so what? Progress is nice, but if results don’t follow then the alternatives have to be seriously considered.
Ironically, it’s been the team that’s been consistently winning that has made the most dramatic move. The Los Angeles Kings took a chance and inserted Simon Gagne into the lineup on Monday for the first time since Dec. 26.
Now the question is if DeBoer will make any lineup changes going into Game 4. He’s shown a willingness to tweak the line combinations, but that’s been about the extent of his tampering in the Stanley Cup finals. Adam Larsson, Petr Sykora, and Henrik Tallinder are all ready and waiting to show what they can do against Los Angeles. We’ll see if any of them get a chance on Wednesday.