NEWARK, N.J. — Winning Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final did more than keep the Devils alive.
For one game, the Eastern Conference champions showed they could not only play with the Kings, they could beat them, too.
Their 3-1 win in Los Angeles on Wednesday, their first of the series, prevented the Kings' coronation ceremony and forced the NHL to pack the Cup and ship it back to New Jersey for Game 5 on Saturday night.
Now comes the hard part for coach Peter DeBoer and the Devils. They have to follow it up with another win over a team that is 15-3 in the postseason and has not lost consecutive games.
"We know every time we can win a game and chip away, the end goal gets a little closer," DeBoer said Thursday shortly after the Devils' flight from the West Coast landed. "I know it is a cliche, but I think if we win on Saturday night, this series really takes a turn."
On the flight back to New Jersey, DeBoer said his team had the same confidence it has shown throughout the playoffs.
"Every game is Game 7 for us," said rookie center Adam Henrique, whose goal in the third period Wednesday put New Jersey ahead 2-1. "And we have the confidence in the room we can do it. It will be tough, but we are prepared to do it."
AHL final: Mike Kostka scored on a fluky bounce off the glass 9:09 into overtime to give Lightning affiliate Norfolk a 1-0 win over host Toronto and a 3-0 lead in the Calder Cup final. Kostka dumped the puck into Toronto's zone from center ice, and the puck rimmed around the glass, hit a stanchion and bounced almost sideways into an empty net as goalie Ben Scrivens went to play the puck. "I would rather somebody take a pair of steel-toed boots and kick me in a delicate region than to lose a hockey game like that," Toronto coach Dallas Eakins told Toronto's Globe and Mail. Norfolk can win the championship Saturday.