Falling down 3-0 in the Stanley Cup Final against the Los Angeles Kings, the New Jersey Devils have a monumental task ahead of them if they're to reach that elusive 16th win every NHL playoff team seeks. Only three NHL teams have ever come back from that deficit in the postseason and only one -- the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs -- ever did it to win the Cup.
This is the time where the old sports cliche "one game at a time" returns when the Devils are asked about the challenge that lay ahead of them. After improving from Game 1 to Game 2, New Jersey was frustrated by Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick in Game 3 Monday night. Game 4 will only count as one game, not four for the Devils, and while head coach Peter DeBoer characterized the room as "disheartened" Tuesday, the confidence has yet to be fully destroyed.
DeBoer looks like he'll finally make a change to the Devils' lineup for Game 4 as Petr Sykora skated on a line with Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus on Tuesday. Sykora scored 21 goals during the regular season and hasn't played since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers.
Along with needing their offense to wake up, the Devils could use a break or two to go their way in order to get back into the series.
"I think we need something to happen, regardless of what it is: a big hit, a big goal, a weak goal," said Devils netminder Martin Brodeur. "They've been doing it on their side, finding a way to win. We have to do the same thing."
"You know what, sometimes you wish you would have some breaks coming your way," said Alexei Ponikarovsky. "But sometimes you're trying hard to score the goals, it's just not going in there."
Breaks this time of year go the way of the team that ends up winning the series. The Devils' only break so far in the Final was Anton Volchenkov's shot in Game 1 that was stopped by Jonathan Quick, but then deflected off Slava Voynov and into the net to tie the game at 1-1. Since then, it's all gone Los Angeles' way, like when Brodeur believed he had the puck covered under his pad, but Alec Martinez jammed it in the net to give the Kings a 1-0 lead. Brodeur looked for an explanation, but never received one.
"It's kind of hard, especially some of the words I told him, I don't think I was going to get an answer back anyway," he said.
New Jersey will need an answer on Wednesday night, otherwise they'll have to stand and watch the Kings celebrate their first Stanley Cup.
"We've got a lot of heart in that locker room," said David Clarkson. "We're going to continue to push.
"This has been a lot of fun for us. It's not over."
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy