NEWARK, NJ Devils defenseman Mark Fayne is well-known around hockey circles in New England, so there were plenty of disappointed faces watching Game 1 of the Cup Finals when Fayne missed his chance at a game-winning goal in the third period.
The entire Prudential Center crowd groaned, knowing another prime scoring chance might not present itself. Fayne's shot sailed wide as he never really got enough wood on the erratic puck to put it on net.
The puck was wobbling and the ice at the humid Prudential Center was nothing short of brutal, but the former Nobles and Greenough defenseman still pulled a Glen Wesley on a wide-open rebound shot.
For a kid that was born in Nashua, New Hampshire and grew up playing in select hockey teams all across New England, Fayne knows exactly what that is and knows that its not a good thing at all.
When you envision playing in the Stanley Cup Finals, thats definitely not the moment that youre dreaming about, admitted Fayne. The good thing is that weve got plenty of chances to redeem ourselves.
That left things undecided into overtime, and Anze Kopitar sealed the deal for the Kings with his sweet overtime goal to give Los Angeles a 1-0 lead in the series. Fayne wasnt the only Devils player to whiff on a scoring chance David Clarkson had one off the post and another high-and-wide but he admitted that he was dwelling on it immediately after the loss.
Yeah, you just gotta put it behind you," said Fayne, who starred as a defenseman at Providence College. It's one of those things that it's tough to deal with right now, but once you go to bed you've got to forget about it.
Fayne and the rest of his New Jersey Devils admit that the big stage of the Stanley Cup Finals got to them, and they know they need to be better if they hope to even the series with the Kings headed back to Los Angeles.
That starts with generating a much greater forecheck than the timid, half-hearted attack that took the ice on Wednesday night. If players like Fayne and Clarkson can bury their chances against a Conn Smythe candidate like Jonathan Quick, that would help, too.
Thats what you have to do, said Devils head coach Peter DeBoer. LA bottles teams up through the neutral zone. Weve got to do more of that. They stand you up, take away your time and space. You have to get in behind them. You have to have good support. We need more of that.
Weve got to do more. I think we made it too easy on Quick. We had some opportunities. But we didnt do enough to make it tough on him.
They also need to shoot the puck more. New Jersey had their chances that went by the boards, but those missed open nets are magnified when there are only a few handfuls of shots and even fewer legitimate scoring chances.
If Fayne and the Devils cant muster more than 18 shots on net in a game and rely on bouncing pucks off Los Angeles defenseman for their goals, then it could be a very quick series indeed.