Familiar territory: Down after Game 1

NEWARK N.J. -- There is, at least, the comfort of knowing that they have been here before.

After dropping the first game of a series for the third consecutive time this postseason, the Devils will fight a familiar uphill battle against the Kings in the Stanley Cup final.

"The good news is we started in the same hole against Philly, we started in the same hole against the Rangers," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. "We responded to the situation in the right way the last two rounds, and I expect the same."

The Devils were nervous and sloppy -- both Patrik Elias and Ilya Kovalchuk called it the team's worst game of the playoffs -- which is to say, not nearly good enough to beat a Kings team that has dominated the Western Conference.

The Kings have surrendered only two losses in 15 games this post-season and have won Game 1 in all four rounds.

Veteran goaltender Martin Brodeur said he expects the Devils to respond with a better effort in Game 2 at home on Saturday.

"We're a resilient bunch of guys that work really hard and our work ethic gets us through the hump sometimes," he said. "I think we're gonna go work really hard the next game and see what that's going to bring us."

The eighth-seeded Kings are a staggering 9-0 on the road -- an unblemished record Brodeur hopes the Devils can change this weekend.

"This team hasn't lost on the road," Brodeur said. "They feel good about it and they're finding ways to win. We've just gotta get ourselves a win and that's gonna be a tough loss for them if we're able to get them, because they haven't lost on the road."

"How are they gonna react to that? " he asked. "We have to put that doubt in their mind as quick as possible."