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Posted On Wednesday, 06.06.2012 / 11:22 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Sykora in, Tallinder makes playoff debut for Devils

MARINA DEL REY, Calif. -- Devils coach Peter DeBoer on Wednesday morning confirmed two changes to the lineup for Game 4. Henrik Tallinder and Petr Sykora both will play as the Devils try to avoid getting swept by the Kings in the Stanley Cup Final.

Peter Harrold and Jacob Josefson will come out of the lineup to make room for Tallinder and Sykora.

"Excitement," Tallinder said when asked what he is feeling. "I haven't been playing for a while, so I'm pretty excited to come back and to just be able to play again."

Tallinder, who has been out of the lineup with a blood clot, hasn't played since Jan. 17. He has been practicing with the team for a few weeks and said earlier in the series that he is healthy and ready to go.

"In my situation it was a little different because of the blood clot," Tallinder said. "You have to be really sure that everything was resolved in the leg. It was."

DeBoer said he considered going to Tallinder after Game 2, but didn't want to change the lineup because he liked the way the team played in that 2-1 overtime loss.

The Devils lost 4-0 in Game 3, and DeBoer said Tallinder had a good practice and looked "up to game speed" Tuesday.

"Yesterday in practice we had a conversation and he (DeBoer) said I wasn't in," Tallinder said. "Last night I got the call. It was kind of weird, but I am happy."

Tallinder will be jumping into a difficult spot in a potential elimination game.

"I feel pretty comfortable in practice, but it's practice," Tallinder said. "Stanley Cup Final, how do you prepare for that? Excitement. A lot of jump in your legs. And try not to think too much."

"He has been missed in our lineup," Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador said. "It's nice to see him overcome what he had. It's nice that he's back and recovered."

Sykora is going into the lineup as a scoring option; New Jersey has just two goals in the series.

He hasn't played since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Rangers.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.05.2012 / 1:13 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Kings' penalty kill does it again

LOS ANGELES -- In the eyes of the Long Angeles Kings, the turning point in Game 3 came early -- when they successfully killed off the Devils' 60-second 5-on-3 power play in the first period.

"Greener [defenseman Matt Greene], I think I saw him block three one-timers from [Ilya] Kovalchuk," forward Dustin Penner said following L.A.'s 4-0 win Monday night. "He chewed him up and spit him out. You could just tell how much it means to the guys in this room. It just excites and pumps everyone up on the bench to watch guys go down and take a shot like that consecutively."

It was actually only two blocks by Greene on Kovalchuk, but you get Penner's point. Greene, Willie Mitchell and Jarret Stoll, playing in front of goaltender Jonathan Quick, limited the Devils to only one shot on goal over the entire 5-on-3.

New Jersey's best chance to grab a lead in this series came and went just like that.</p>

"We've had some 5-on-3s to kill and we've done a good job of communicating, knowing where we are on the ice and knowing where the threats are, where the one-timers are and where they are not," Stoll said. "Kovalchuk is a big threat for them and we wanted to lock him up. Quickie is going to have to make some saves. In a 5-on-3 your goalie is going to have to make some saves, and he did. We just didn't want to give them that great one-timer from a good position."

The Kings' penalty kill as a whole was again impenetrable Monday -- L.A. was a perfect 6-for-6 in 9:01 of power-play time.

Los Angeles hasn't allowed a power play goal in the series, denying all 12 chances for the Devils. L.A. has killed 48 of the last 50 power plays against and is 64 for 69 in the playoffs.

"We've been doing it all year. It is kind of a staple on our team," Mitchell said. "[Assistant coach] John Stevens has been terrific with it as far as details, and it has been a group that takes a lot of pride in it. We feel it makes a difference, and tonight it did."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Sunday, 06.03.2012 / 11:55 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - World According to JR

Roenick: Kings must beware of a letdown

LOS ANGELES -- With the Stanley Cup Final shifting to Staples Center for Game 3 Monday night, NBC Sports analyst Jeremy Roenick says the Los Angeles Kings, up 2-0 on the New Jersey Devils, now have to guard against a letdown at home.

"They can't get into a game to try to impress their fans," Roenick told NHL.com.

The Devils, of course, will try to do all they can to make sure the Kings don't have an impressive night. Roenick says they will help their own cause if they get even more aggressive on their forecheck.

"You have to come with all your guns," he said. "You can't sit back now."

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Posted On Sunday, 06.03.2012 / 9:27 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Devils' power play searches for answers

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Following the 2-1 overtime loss Saturday night, Ilya Kovalchuk called the Devils effort on the power play in Game 2 "disgusting."

Devils coach Peter DeBoer didn't think it was that bad.

"A little harsh," DeBoer said when asked about Kovalchuk's comments. "Hopefully a little is lost in translation there."

DeBoer drew a laugh with that comment, which was intended to be light-hearted. The truth is maybe Kovalchuk was being overly negative about the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of power play, but his attitude about it is understandable in light of how the game ended with Jeff Carter scoring in overtime for a 2-1 win.

A power-play goal in either of the first two games would have enough to have the Devils even in the Stanley Cup Final or perhaps even ahead 2-0 going into Game 3 Monday at Staples Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

New Jersey is instead down 0-2 after back-to-back 2-1 overtime losses. Its power play is 0-for-6 with only five shots on goal.

"I think 5-on-5 and shorthanded, we played really well (in game 2)," Kovalchuk said. "The power play has to be better. That's a key in those kinds of games. When you've got a power play, even if you're not scoring you've got to create momentum. All playoffs long we were good on the power play and if we were not scoring we had momentum from our chances. Those two games, we were just awful. We've got to be better."

Considering the Kings are pretty darn impressive on the penalty kill, it's fair to wonder if the Devils' power play can be better.

L.A. has killed off 58 of 63 power plays in the playoffs. The Canucks scored three power-play goals on them and the Coyotes got two. The Blues were blanked on 17 opportunities.

"They've got a really good penalty kill," Devils captain Zach Parise admitted. "They pressure at the right times. I think they make really good reads. When there is a bouncing puck they jump pretty well. They make it tough when you're breaking in the zone. You're not a lot of times getting in clean. You've got to dump it in and try to retrieve it. They make it hard, but once we do get it in it would be to our benefit just one, two passes and try to get something to the net."

Kovalchuk said the same thing -- that the Devils have to simplify things on the power play. He said they were guilty of trying to make too many fancy plays and passes through four and five guys that just aren't going to work against any PK, let alone the one that Kings are deploying so successfully in these playoffs.

"They've got a lot of confidence on their penalty kill," Parise added. "Similar to us, they challenge. They go for shorthanded goals. That's hard on a power play."

Somehow, the Devils have to fight through it. They realize finding a way on the power play could be the key to finding themselves back in this series.

"The last two games we had some early power play opportunities and didn't capitalize on them," Parise said. "Who knows, if you do, it could change the game around."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl



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Posted On Saturday, 06.02.2012 / 11:40 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Devils to stick with same lineup for Game 2

NEWARK, N.J. -- Devils coach Peter DeBoer said Saturday morning that there will be no lineup changes for New Jersey in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS) at Prudential Center.

The Devils will look to break even in the series after losing Game 1 in overtime, 2-1, on Anze Kopitar's breakaway goal 8:13 into the extra session.

Here is the Devils expected lineup for Game 2:

Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Patrik Elias - Jacob Josefson - David Clarkson
Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Anton Volchenkov - Peter Harrold

Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Friday, 06.01.2012 / 4:33 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - World According to JR

JR: Onus on Devils to convert on their chances

NEWARK, N.J. -- For the Kings to win their 10th straight road game in these playoffs and take a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final, NBC Sports analyst Jeremy Roenick said they don't have to change much from their Game 1 performance.

Roenick is instead putting the onus on the Devils to capitalize when they have the chance and establish their forecheck from the get-go in Game 2 Saturday (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS).

For more of Roenick's thoughts heading into Game 2, check out this Q&A he did with NHL.com:

NHL.com: What do the Devils have to do to win Game 2?

STANLEY CUP FINAL - KINGS VS. DEVILS

Devils focus on more sustained attack

By Darren Pang - Special to NHL.com
Hockey analyst Darren Pang discusses some key adjustments the Devils need to make in order to bounce back in Game 2. READ MORE ›
JR: Obviously this is the biggest game of their season. You can't fall down 2-0 to a team as hot as the L.A. Kings. For me, what I saw last game, the opportunities that were missed by the Devils -- open nets, missed passes, quality, quality scoring chances that they had that had they converted it would have been a much different game -- they have to convert on those in Game 2. Both teams had quality chances, but the Devils especially. David Clarkson had a couple. Zach Parise had a golden one that he just couldn't get a stick on it. I think a lot of it had to do with the ice conditions, the puck was bouncing a lot. The players won't blame it, but I think the ice was to blame for some bad bounces that helped keep the puck out of the net. Regardless, they have to convert on all those chances.

NHL.com:
How do they go about getting more chances than they had in Game 1, because they had only 18 shots on goal?

JR: I think they have to get on their forecheck harder. I don't think they put enough pressure on L.A.'s defense. They made a couple of big mistakes. Their 'D' got beat on the first goal by a hard forecheck, a turnover, and the puck goes to the back of the net without the proper coverage. They have to tighten up and put more pressure on the L.A. defense to create more turnovers.

NHL.com: If they are able to do that, do you think it'll be enough to win against a Kings team that is finding a way in just about every game it plays?

JR: It's going to give them the best opportunity. You can't say it for sure it will be enough, because you can't predict the future, but it will give the Kings a lot more to handle. I do think Jersey has the ability to forecheck harder and they have to test them to that capacity. If they don't, L.A. will continue to pick them apart.

NHL.com: What do the Kings have to do to take a 2-0 lead in the series?

JR: I don't think they have to change much. They moved the puck well. They stayed out of the penalty box. They got some really good forechecking in. They created some good scoring opportunities. All in all, they have to make sure they don't turn the puck over in neutral ice. Sometimes when Jersey got more chances the puck was turned over in neutral ice, either by the defense or the centerman, and then the Devils were able to transition very quickly.

NHL.com: How do the Kings avoid the pitfalls of those turnovers considering you know the Devils are going to want to pounce?

JR: For me, it's about making sure they control the puck and control the blue lines. The blue lines are very important. And they really just have to play as sturdy a defensive game and as boring a game as they possibly can to get the fans nervous, restless and quiet. Maybe they can steal another game out of the Devils building.

NHL.com: The Kings have been at their best in Game 2s. Does that matter now? Does it give them a psychological advantage?

JR: No, I don't think it does. I really think the Kings are in a zone physically, mentally. I don't think they're looking at it being Game 1, Game 2 or Game 3. They are taking it one game at a time. They're keeping it simple. They are moving the puck well. They don't care if they're up or down, they're just playing a hockey game, one at a time. Darryl Sutter is making third and fourth lines feel like they're a huge part of this team, and he's challenging the top lines to be better. That's a beautiful way to bring the whole team into the mix. I think Darryl Sutter deserves a lot of credit for bringing in a very strong mentality in that locker room.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Friday, 06.01.2012 / 3:38 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

DeBoer recalls experience with Kings' Williams

NEWARK, N.J. -- Devils coach Peter DeBoer has a lot of unique ties to the Kings.

For instance, Mike Richards played for him when he was the head coach of the Kitchener Rangers in the Ontario Hockey League. DeBoer is close with Brent Sutter, the former Devils coach who is also one of the younger brothers of Kings coach Darryl Sutter.

The one that flies under the radar is his previous relationship with Kings forward Justin Williams, who played for DeBoer when he was the head coach of the OHL's Plymouth Whalers.

DeBoer was asked about Williams on Friday. He relayed the story of how he met him and why he has the utmost respect for Williams.

"I drafted him in the sixth round out of Junior C in, I believe, Cobourg, Ont., which is outside Belleville," DeBoer said. "Kid came in and didn't make our team the first year. We put him down on the Tier 2 team. He just kept hanging around. You could tell he was a good hockey player, but was about 150 pounds. He had a great heart.

"Next year, he came back to camp, played for one year for me, was a first-round pick, (and I) never saw him again. He stepped right into Philadelphia. Great story of perseverance. I've got a lot of time for Justin."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl


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Posted On Friday, 06.01.2012 / 2:54 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Devils confident they can get chances on Quick

NEWARK, N.J. -- Jonathan Quick is not in the Devils heads. At least, he isn't in their heads as of yet.

After further dissection of their 2-1 overtime loss in Game 1, the Devils haven't backed down from their feeling that despite generating only 18 shots on goal they still had plenty of Grade A scoring chances against the Kings' goalie, a leading candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

"The opportunities were there," Devils captain Zach Parise said. "A lot of times we missed the net on some wide-open nets. The rebounds were there. We don't need to change, but we have to be better at the things we were doing."

There were also times, Parise said, that Quick was out of position.

For instance, he wasn't even close when Mark Fayne had a wide-open look at the net midway through the third period, only to have the bouncing puck flutter off his stick and go wide right. Quick was caught at the upper lip of his blue paint.

Before Parise was caught putting the puck into the net with his hand, he missed on a chance that came with Quick out of position, about two feet above the blue paint.

David Clarkson had a couple just like that as well.

"He's an aggressive goalie, he challenges the shooters, so if we can get some guys in position to get the rebounds I think we're going to get opportunities like that," Parise said. "We've just got to put them in."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl


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Posted On Thursday, 05.31.2012 / 1:05 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Slick feed from Williams sparked Kopitar's breakaway

NEWARK, N.J. -- Justin Williams knew Anze Kopitar was heading to that particular area, but he didn't know if he was alone. Heck, Williams didn't even know if Kopitar would get to the blue line fast enough to even receive the pass he was about to send that way.

"It's just an area pass where you hope the guy skates into it," Williams said.

Kopitar did, just in time in fact, at New Jersey's blue line for a breakaway on Martin Brodeur that led to the overtime winner in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. He deked to his forehand and beat Brodeur at the 8:13 mark of the extra session to give the Kings a 2-1 win and a 1-0 edge in the series.
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Posted On Wednesday, 05.30.2012 / 1:11 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Business as usual for Devils on morning of Game 1

NEWARK, N.J. -- Two-time Stanley Cup winner Patrik Elias admitted he is nervous.

"There's a lot at stake here," Elias said after the Devils morning skate Wednesday in advance of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Zach Parise said nothing about the Devils morning routine on a gameday was different, but he expects the afternoon and evening to not feel like anything he has experienced before as a Devil.

"I'm sure once we get to the rink tonight the nerves will be a little different than every other game," Parise said, "but so far it's been the same."

The Devils are going for their fourth Stanley Cup championship in the last 17 years, but of the guys that will be in the lineup for Game 1, only Elias, Martin Brodeur, Dainius Zubrus, Ryan Carter and Anton Volchenkov have experienced the calm before the storm of the Stanley Cup Final.

It's different even for a guy like coach Peter DeBoer, who never reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs as a player or a coach prior to this season.

"Just excited," DeBoer said when he was asked how he was feeling Wednesday morning. "You want to play. You're tired of waiting around. You're tired of looking at film. You're tired of practicing. It's anxious energy.

"Whatever I'm feeling, I'm sure it's doubled for the players."

DeBoer, though, has an experienced coaching staff and front office that he can lean on. Guys like Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello and assistant coach Larry Robinson have been on this big stage multiple times over the course of their careers in hockey.

Lamoriello has won the Stanley Cup three times as an executive. Robinson won the Cup six times as a player with the Montreal Canadiens (he played in the Cup Final seven times), and three times in the Devils organization, including 2000, when he was the team's head coach.

"The one advantage I think our organization has here is the experience we have from the top down," DeBoer said. "They've been there, seen it all, won, lost. Then filtering down (to) my assistant coaches, with Larry Robinson -- we have a wealth of experience all the way through the organization right to the locker room. We've got that in abundance. It makes my job easy."

All that experience, plus his own natural coaching chops, has convinced DeBoer that changing the approach and routine at this stage of the game would be detrimental to the group.

He doesn't plan on doing anything different Wednesday in advance of Game 1.

"I think the natural reaction, when you talk to people, is all of a sudden you have to pull out these great speeches, change the way you've done things," DeBoer said. "Part of the thing that we do well here is, it's business as usual. We've tried not to change a routine. I'm not planning on pulling out any great speeches. We've done our preparation. We're a workman-like team and we'll be ready to play."

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