The Los Angeles Kings always knew they would be flying back home after the fifth game of the Stanley Cup finals on Saturday.
What they did not know, was whether the New Jersey Devils would be joining them on the long trip across the United States.
Before Saturday's game, the Kings had not lost a single road game during the playoffs. Had they maintained their perfect record, the Stanley Cup would have been theirs.
But their 2-1 loss to the Devils reduced the best-of-seven series score to 3-2 in favor of the Kings.
It was the second game in a row that the Kings blew their chance to wrap it up but they get a third opportunity in California on Monday.
"You've got to finish your opportunities," Kings coach Darryl Suttor told a news conference.
"You got to work to get 'em, you pretty much have to not give up more than one."
There has been little between the teams throughout the series. Although the Kings won the first three games, two went to overtime, and Suttor said the only common denominator was which team started better.
"The only way to really look at it in the series is the first goal," Suttor said.
"Whoever scores the first goal, that's the way it's been. We scored the first goal in the first three. That tells you just really how close it is."
The Kings dominated the opening period on Saturday but found themselves behind whey gave up a soft goal to Devils captain Zach Parise.
Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick, one of the favorites to win the Most Valuable Player award, made a rare mistake when he left his crease and misplayed a puck that bounced off the end boards and out toward the net to Parise.
"I thought we had a really good first period, no question," Suttor said.
"They scored a goal in the offensive zone... Other than that, we had a heck of a first period."
(Editing by John O'Brien)