For Devils, crashing the party means crashing the net

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For Devils, crashing the party means crashing the net

NEWARK, N.J. Devils forward Patrik Elias made contact with Jonathan Quick as he skated by him in Game 4. A few seconds later, he was putting a puck past the Los Angeles goaltender, who wasnt too happy about the contact.

A brush-by, a love tap, a graze. Whatever you want to call it, it got to Quick. And not long after that, the Devils got a puck past Quick.

And it was a reminder that, in facing another elimination game on Saturday, the Devils need to find a way to get to Quick any way they can.

The Devils two goals against Quick on Wednesday equaled what they got against him in the first three games combined (yes, Ilya Kovalchuks late Game 4 goal was an empty netter). Theyll need more of that a lot more if they want to extend this series another game.

We just have to do whatever it takes to score goals, Kovalchuk said Friday. You cant beat that guy without traffic; you have to be in his face all the time, for sure.

Thats the general rule for just about every goaltender: theyll stop what they see. But with Quick, even when he doesnt see all of it hes got a pretty good chance of stopping it. Still, putting any degree of difficulty on shots Quick sees has to help.

The Devils havent gotten to him nearly enough in this series that goes physically, but especially mentally. When they did on Wednesday, they got results.

We have to create room in the offensive zone. One way of doing that is bringing defensemen to the goalie, Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur said. Weve been talking about that. Drive a lot of guys to the net, bring a lot of people so it creates more room. I think its important for us to get a little more offensive success. It created a big goal for us at the time. Im sure were going to have to do a lot more of that.

Nobody likes their personal space invaded. That probably goes double for goaltenders. The Devils got too close for Quicks comfort when they took the opening 1-0 lead in Game 4. If the Devils want to put more pressure on the Kings in this series, they need more pressure on their goaltender.

We need to get more goals like the Elias goal. I think weve had people in those positions, we just havent stuck them in, Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. Thats constantly something that has to get better for us. This guy is a great goalie. The more people, the more bodies, the more pucks around the net, the more were going to get rewarded.

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Austin O'Connor

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Austin O'Connor

Four years, four state championships. 

That's what St. Rita senior wrestler Austin O'Connor accomplished over the past four years, becoming the 15th wrestler in IHSA history to do so. The Mustangs' grappler went undefeated this season and finished his IHSA career with a record of 181-4. 

O'Connor is planning on continuing his time on the mat at the University of North Carolina next season. Learn more about O'Connor in the video above. 

In the Gym at EFT: Vertical jump training

In the Gym at EFT: Vertical jump training

In the latest installment of In the Gym at EFT, performance specialist Kerry Neal teaches some valuable techniques to improve an athlete's vertical jump. 

Former Western Michigan Linebacker Grant DePalma gives an assist by demonstrating the drills. An athlete's vertical is an important tool and can be the difference during evaluation.

Learn some valuable tips above and be on the lookout for the next edition of In the Gym at EFT.