Stanley Cup Finals 2012: Kings Must Strike Early to Avoid Fervent Devil Push

The Los Angeles Kings must score early to dispel any crazed comeback notions held by the New Jersey Devils in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Even though the Kings still hold a two-game lead in this year's finals, they still must beware. A New Jersey victory in Game 4 could build momentum in their favor if the Kings do not come out of the gate strong in Game 5.

Let's take a look at what the Kings must do in Game 5 to stave off any Devil comebacks.


Strike Early

The Devils scored two goals in the third period of Game 4. They wouldn't have had nearly the same impact if the Kings had scored beforehand.

Los Angeles must put pucks on Martin Brodeur immediately in Game 5. This will force the Devils to play in their own end, and it won't allow them to pin the Kings deep in their defensive zone.

Jonathan Quick operates at his best when the Kings have a lead. Most goalies enjoy playing in a depressurized scenario rather than a save-or-die situation.

If the Kings can get on the board early, it will surely take the wind out of New Jersey's sails. Quick is tough, and an early lead could be insurmountable for the experienced Devil squad.

Los Angeles must dump the puck deep, cycle and make sure their skill players get their necessary touches early in the game. This will ensure the Kings' flow and consistency on offense, and it will make sure their best players are acclimated to playing in front of a hostile crowd.

No team likes playing from behind. An early Game 5 deficit could be devastating to the Kings, and it could give the Devils all the momentum they need to extend this series.


Be Prepared

The Devils now have a winning formula after their Game 4 victory. The Kings must prepare, focus and make sure the same mistakes do not happen twice.

If Los Angeles does not come prepared, that will make New Jer...

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