Few NHL players have more experience in the Stanley Cup finals than Petr Sykora, and the New Jersey Devils might be ready to give him a chance.
Sykora expects to be in the lineup for Game 4 on Wednesday night after sitting out the first three games of the finals as a healthy scratch. The two-time NHL champion hasn't played since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals on May 19.
"It's not my decision," Sykora said. "I just try to stay in shape and be as positive as possible for the guys that are playing. It looks like I'm playing, but you never know. This is my sixth final, so I should be ready to go."
Indeed, the Czech forward has appeared in five finals during a 16-season NHL career that includes 10 seasons with 20 goals.
He made it with the Devils in 2000 -- winning the Cup that year despite getting hurt in the clincher -- and 2001 before advancing with Anaheim in 2003. He made the finals with Pittsburgh in 2008 and again in 2009, although he was a scratch for much of that playoff campaign before sitting out the Penguins' victory in Game 7 with a foot injury from blocking a shot.
"He's an option for us," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "We're going to consider him. We haven't scored. He's a guy that doesn't need a lot of looks to stick one in the net. That's what he does best, so he's definitely an option."
Sykora had 44 points while playing in all 82 regular-season games in his return to the Devils this season, but has just two goals and two assists in 15 playoff games.
"I never put pressure on myself scoring, because you never know," Sykora said. "It doesn't matter who scores. We just have to win tomorrow."