When Devils coach Brent Sutter walked into the room for the media availability this morning at the team hotel, I asked him how he was doing and he replied, "Everything is tickety-boo".
I was pretty sure that meant, "Everything is good", but just to be sure I did an internet search (I wasn't sure how to spell it either) and it turns out I was correct.
The definition on Dictionary.com reads: "adjective Chiefly British Informal. fine; OK [Origin: 1935–40; perh. expressive alter. of the phrase that's the ticket] "
With that settled, it's on to Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals tonight at Prudential Center with the Rangers leading three games to one and looking to wrap up the series with one more victory.
You don't need a dictionary or a Google search to figure out the challenge facing the Devils. Only 20 teams in NHL history have come back from a 3-1 series deficit to win.
"We know where we're at, where we stand," Sutter said. "If you're every going to trust, this is where the trust comes in as far as coaches and players, players to each other. Everyone just do their jobs."
The Devils came back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2000 Eastern Confernence Finals, but have been down 3-1 in a series each of their last three seasons (Philadelphia, Carolina and Ottawa) and were knocked out in Game 5 all three times.
"The only thing that matters is one game right now," said Sutter, who played for the 1987 Islanders team that came back from 3-1 down to beat the Washington Capitals in a first-round series that ended with Pat LaFontaine's quadruple OT goal. "We just have to focus in on this one game and take care of this one game."
Only six players remain from the 2000 Devils' team that came back to beat the Flyers and went on to win the Stanley Cup -- John Madden, Jay Pandolfo, Sergei Brlyin, Patrik Elias, Colin White and Martin Brodeur.
"Back then, it was taking it one step at a time," Madden said. "I know it's a cliche and you've heard it 1000 times, but you can't worry about Sunday (Game 6) if you don't take care of today. You've got to play with desperation because there's no tomorrow for us if we don't win tonight."
Although I didn't see Brian Gionta (sore side) or Mike Rupp (back/hip tightness), Sutter said both would play tonight and he would make no lineup changes.
The Rangers held an optional skate this morning, but 18 players took part. Rookie defenseman Marc Staal, who sat out practice Thursday because of sore foot, was among those who skated and said he was "OK to play."
**Last night's movie for Brodeur and Co. was "The Ruins". "It was terrible," Brodeur said. "There were vines growing inside of people."
When I said they might have been better off staying at the hotel last night, Brodeur replied, "That's what we were thinking."
Brodeur is hoping the playoff run continues with "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" opening today and a few other promising movies soon to follow.
**From watching some games last night, I'd be willing to bet that the officials have received word from the NHL to start calling goaltender interference more tightly after seeing Brodeur knocked down a couple of times on Wednesday. Viktor Kozlov got called for one in the Philadelphia game when he got hit into Martin Biron (really bad call) and there was one in the Dallas-Anaheim game on Nicklas Hagman that negated a goal in which Hagman barely touched Jean-Sebastien Giguere. There was legit call on Teemu Selanne later in the game.