- Last Updated: 8:05 AM, June 4, 2012
- Posted: 12:48 AM, June 4, 2012
LOS ANGELES — It isn’t only history if it’s experience.
And entering tonight’s Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Kings a defeat away from facing the direst of straits, the Devils have both history and experience on their side, not that chipping in with a few goals against Jonathan Quick isn’t important, too.
Once before the Devils rallied to win a best-of-seven after dropping the first two at home, and it might have been 18 years ago against the Bruins in the second round, but Martin Brodeur is the common thread between then and now.
Well, kind of.
Because after losing the first two at home following a seven-game first-round victory over the Sabres that featured a quadruple-overtime Game 6 1-0 defeat in Buffalo, the-then 22 year-old rookie Brodeur was replaced in nets by coach Jacques Lemaire for Games 3 and 4 in Boston Garden by Chris Terreri, who had his own history of playing well in the old barn, starting at Providence College.
“What do I remember about Boston in ’94? I remember I didn’t play,” Brodeur, appearing like a man without a care in the world, said with a laugh here yesterday afternoon. “That’s what I remember.
“And then I couldn’t believe that Jacques put me back in for Game 5.”
And then after recording a shutout victory at the Meadowlands, Brodeur was back on the bench as Terreri won Game 6 in Boston to clinch the series. That was May 11, 1994, 191 Devils playoff games ago, the last one Brodeur did not start.
“Great coaching?” Brodeur was asked about sitting following the shutout.
“Ask him,” Brodeur said about Lemaire.
Which, it turns out, current coach Pete DeBoer does; not about decisions made in 1994 but rather about the team largely intact from the one Lemaire rescued from the brink of disaster last season in returning for a third tour behind the bench to replace John MacLean at the lowest moments in franchise history since Wayne Gretzky called the organization a “Mickey Mouse operation” in 1983.
“I leaned on Jacques quite a bit,” said DeBoer, who succeeded Lemaire over the summer. “He came to training camp with us. I got to spend some time with him. I would have been crazy not to.
“He knows the personnel inside out and has a good feel for the players. ... They had success down the stretch last year playing a certain way. I relied on him early in the season and I still have regular phone conversations with him, as late as last week. He’s a great resource for me to have in the organization.
“He laid the foundation defensively last year, and that’s why we’re capable of playing teams like the Rangers and LA in 1-1, 2-1 [games].”
The challenge for the Devils is to get two goals this time after getting two in 141:55 thus far (“One off the face of somebody and one off a tip,” Brodeur said.)
The challenge is also for the Devils not to be seduced into thinking the results of the first two games, both decided in overtime, were somehow unjust simply because they were not necessarily outplayed in either one.
The Devils were shut out in two of the first three games of the conference finals by Henrik Lundqvist before responding to win three straight to take the Battle of the Hudson in six.
“We realize we can play better and have to play better,” said Zach Parise, who was then asked if this series reminded him of the one against the Rangers. “It’s a similar situation, but in that series we had the puck for 50 of the 60 minutes in their zone and just couldn’t put it by [Lundqvist].
“It’s not quite the same; L.A.’s defense moves the puck really well.”
It is, however, history, and it is does provide the Devils with recent experience on which to draw.Follow @NYPostsports