- Last Updated: 12:17 PM, June 5, 2012
- Posted: 1:53 AM, June 5, 2012
LOS ANGELES — Their own stars have become commonplace Hollywood tourists, voyeurs watching the local luminaries show them how it’s done. That’s why the Devils are all but.
They talked a better Game 4 than they played Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, shut out by the Kings 4-0 last night, trailing this series 3-0.
For now, they can forget trying to accomplish what hasn’t been done in 70 years. The Devils’ sole task in Game 4 tomorrow is to avoid being swept for the first time in team history and live to fight again Saturday in Newark.
They insisted a fourth Stanley Cup can still happen, although all know no team has done what they must do since the 1942 Maple Leafs won the Cup after losing the first three of the finals. That’s seven decades ago, when Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler were fighting for the world.
“I believe it can be done. You have to believe in yourself. If you don’t believe, you are done,” David Clarkson said.
Martin Brodeur, left so alone with only two goals of support in three games, still professed hope that it can happen.
“I think so. It’s hard. It’s not the best situation, in fact, it is the worst situation we could be in,” Brodeur said. “We just have to put our heads down, work as hard as we can. The results will be one way or the other.”
The Devils are failing because their stars are. They have no points in the finals from Ilya Kovalchuk or Zach Parise, flopping when it counts on hockey’s biggest stage. Now it’s all but too late.
“We’re not going to quit, I can tell you for sure. All the guys are going to fight,” Kovalchuk said. “We didn’t score. We have to find a way to score goals.”
Besides that, they have to win four straight from the Kings, who have lost only 2-of-17 in these playoffs.
“We want the Cup,” was the chant from the crowd, who watched the Kings become the first team to take a 3-0 lead in all four rounds, since all went to best-of-7 in 1987.
The Devils have been in this situation twice before, losing the first three to the 1993 Penguins and 2006 Hurricanes, eliminated in five each time after avoiding the sweep.
The Kings, established in 1967, are one victory from their first Stanley Cup. Los Angeles has won its last four playoff games and stands 9-1 in its last 10, 15-2 in postseason.
The Devils’ reasons for hope are few, and they’ll no doubt remind themselves that they are 4-8 in Games 1-3 in these playoffs, but 8-1 in Games 4-7.
The Devils haven’t led at any moment in this series, and Los Angeles struck first again, Alec Martinez scoring the first of his playoff career at 5:40 of the second. The Devils protested that Dwight King chopped and pushed the puck from under Brodeur for Martinez to finish, but to no avail.
“It’s a momentum-changing call at the time,” Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. “I hope [the ref’s] right. It’s an awful big call if he’s wrong. As soon as you lose sight of the puck, you should blow the whistle.”
If Brodeur had no help from the ref, he had precious little from his teammates. Salvador was late in hitting King, and Marek Zidlicky, Clarkson, Kovalchuk and Jacob Josefson watched the winner go in.
In short order, the Devils began looking dispirited. The Kings took the first two-goal lead of the series when Anze Kopitar completed 3-on-2 at 15:07 of the second. Brodeur had no help again as Justin Williams bounced a backpass off the right boards which Brown whipped across for Kopitar’s eighth, tying him with Flyers Daniel Briere and Claude Giroux for the postseason lead.
Any remaining doubt was erased when Jeff Carter and Justin Williams scored the first power-play goals of the finals in the third.
Kings’ Simon Gagne returned to action after missing 62 games to concussion. The former Flyer scored 22 goals in 55 career games vs. N.J. He is now qualified to have his name on the Cup if the Kings win finals. ... Wayne Gretzky dropped the ceremonial first puck.
Mark Messier presented a $5,000 check in honor of late Robert Knudsen of Windsor, Ontario, as winner of Messier’s Youth Leadership Award for his work in Skate for Kids Program. Messier also announced Kings’ Brown, Coyotes’ Shane Doan and Rangers’ Ryan Callahan as finalists for his Leadership Award.
Last night was the Devils’ first game outside the Eastern time zone since Jan. 14. Sunday’s trip here was their first on a plane since April 26, after beating the Panthers in the first round. It also was the Kings’ first home game in the finals since June 7, 1993, Game 4 of a five-game loss to the Canadiens.Follow @NYPostsports