|Henrique revels in another game-winning playoff goal. (Getty Images)|
LOS ANGELES -- Put the champagne back on the ice. The celebration in L.A. is going to have to wait for another day ... assuming it comes.
The New Jersey Devils faced down elimination for the third time in the playoffs, and they survived it for the third time by taking down the Kings 3-1 in Game 4 on Wednesday night at Staples Center. That means they live to fight at least one more day -- back at home, no less.
New Jersey escaped Los Angeles with a win and its season still alive, despite a rocking and packed crowd in L.A. and a rather dubious call against the Devils in the third period with the Devils up 1-0 at the time.
All of that, they survived. All they could ask for after Tuesday's practice was to get the series back to New Jersey. Well, it's headed back to New Jersey.
You could say it's all because they're insane. By definition only, of course.
After their practice Tuesday, the Devils were all preaching patience, saying they just needed to keep doing what they were doing. Despite losing the first three games, the Devils were insistent they weren't going to change the way they were playing.
The first three games it didn't work, yet they were going to keep trying what didn't work. See what I mean? Insane.
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Coach Peter DeBoer said as much afterward -- well, not about being insane, but not changing what they were doing.
"Not a whole lot different," DeBoer said as to what changed for the Devils. "We found a way to get the first goal. We found a way to keep momentum. We didn't play any harder. I mean, I think the chances were relatively even again tonight, like they have been most of the games."
Then again, unlike most people you'll find who are insane, there actually is some sound logic in it for the Devils.
"Actually, we talked about doing more of the same," Martin Brodeur insisted. "We feel that we've been playing really well this series, but with zero result.
"It's hard. But I think you just don't change for the sake of changing. I thought in the playoffs that has been working for us. We just wanted to do more of the same."
Dainius Zubrus echoed those sentiments.
"We feel like maybe not many things went our way so far, but at the same time that's how we play," he said. "We can't change anything now. We're playing hockey in June, we're obviously doing something right -- maybe just need to it better. Stay with it, stay positive and try not to get down in any way."
Getting down, there's a new theme. Of course Zubrus didn't exactly mean getting down in the game, but that's something that, for the first time in this series, the Devils didn't experience in Game 4. They took their first lead of the Stanley Cup Final 48 minutes into the game when Patrik Elias slammed home a rebound to prove Jonathan Quick is, in fact, not a shot-blocking cyborg.
The response from L.A. came just a minute later, and they were back even, but not down. No, the Devils were still in it, tied in a playoff game in more or less a sudden-death mode. Of course that meant it was time for Adam Henrique to step up, and he did.
The mustachioed rookie who has developed quite a knack for delivering in the crunch time that his name will soon simply mean "Clutch" in New Jersey -- "Wow, LeBron James is soooo not Henrique; he blew it again."
Perhaps Brodeur put it best after the game when asked he feels now this comeback can be made.
"More than yesterday. You know, I think we wanted to make them jump on a plane and come to New Jersey. We had to go anyway. Might as well get a game over there," he said with a Joker-like grin.
Hey, it's so insane, it just might work.