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.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Jason Benetti stops by to talk the future of the White Sox

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Jason Benetti stops by to talk the future of the White Sox

There's a lot of buzz around the future of the White Sox.

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti joined SportsTalk Live on Wednesday to discuss the team's exciting young prospects and how soon they'll be making their way to the South Side.

Also joining Pat Boyle on this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast are the Tribune's David Haugh, Pro Football Weekly's Hub Arkush and WGN Radio's Sam Panayotovich.

The guys also react to Mike Glennon's recent comments and Kevin White’s uncertain status at OTAs.

Plus, they wonder if Kyle Schwarber has finally found his spot in the Cubs' lineup.

Take a listen to the latest episode below:

Preview: Confident Fire face tough test vs. FC Dallas Thursday on CSN

Preview: Confident Fire face tough test vs. FC Dallas Thursday on CSN

The Chicago Fire are on a three-game winning streak, but those wins have come against struggling teams. FC Dallas, Thursday’s opponent, provides a different level of opposition.

Dallas won the Supporters’ Shield and the U.S. Open Cup last year and was the last team in Major League Soccer to lose this season, only getting knocked off for the first time Saturday against San Jose.

The Fire host Dallas at Toyota Park on CSN with coverage beginning at 7 p.m. with Fire Pregame Live. The Fire (6-3-3, 21 points) have more points, but Dallas (5-1-4, 19 points) has played two fewer games.

“You can test yourself against one of the best teams in the league and kind of gauge where you’re at,” Fire defender Brandon Vincent said. “We’re confident and we want to go out there and battle with them.”

Vincent has been part of a defense that has two straight shutouts, although those came against the two-worst goal-scoring teams in the league in Colorado and D.C. Dallas’ attack isn’t the most prolific in the league (14 goals in 10 games), but is very dangerous on the counter.

“They have a ton of attacking talent,” goalkeeper Matt Lampson said. “They’re actually just a solid team throughout and we expect a very hard game, but we are a completely different team. I think we’ve started to prove that and it’s going to be a very good game.”

While the defense will be busy containing Maxi Urruti (6 goals, 2 assists), midfielder Kellyn Acosta has been a crucial two-way player for Dallas. The 21-year-old has become a key player in the middle with playmaker Mauro Diaz, who was third in MLS with 13 assists last year, still out with an Achilles tendon injury.

Dallas has allowed the fewest goals in the league this season, seven through 10 games. Both centerbacks, Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman, have emerged as national team prospects for the U.S.

Dallas has the talent, experience and credentials of a top team. The Fire are new to being a contender. Vincent and Lampson, both in their second years with the Fire, said they haven’t seen the team have this much confidence since they joined the team.

“This is something special,” Lampson said. “That just proves that guys like Juninho, Dax (McCarty) and Bastian (Schweinsteiger) coming in, the culture has completely changed and we have guys who will do anything to win. When you have every guy on the team that’s like that, then you’re going to get results, you’re going to have confidence when you play well and everybody on the field is going to play for each other.”

Chicago Fire vs. FC Dallas

Where: Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Ill.

TV: CSN Chicago

When: Coverage begins 7 p.m. Thursday with Fire Pregame Live

Records: Fire (6-3-3, 21 points), FCD (5-1-4, 19 points)