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Posted On Tuesday, 07.03.2012 / 5:00 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Voynov, Loktionov take Cup to Russia

The Stanley Cup began its tour of the world Wednesday, with Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov and forward Andrei Loktionov taking the Cup through several Russian cities.

Loktionov played just two games during the playoffs and none after the first round. Meanwhile, Voynov's emergence after the Kings dealt Jack Johnson to the Blue Jackets for Jeff Carter was a major reason for Los Angeles winning it all.

The Cup first arrived in Voynov's hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia, before Loktionov took it to a spot just outside Moscow.

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.12.2012 / 2:03 AM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Kings were aiming for Brodeur's blocker side

LOS ANGELES -- If it seemed like the Los Angeles Kings were targeting the blocker side of Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur during the Stanley Cup Final, it's because they were.

Of the 15 goals allowed by Brodeur, eight beat him to his stick side and many of them were significant.

In Game 1, Anze Kopitar beat Brodeur on a breakaway in overtime by going to the stick side. In Game 2, both Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter scored the Kings' lone goals in that direction. They scored seven goals in total during the first five games of the series, and it wasn't an accident.

"Yeah, that was part of it," Kings forward Dustin Penner told NHL.com. "Low blocker from far out, and from in tight you want to go high glove."

Kings forward Justin Williams beat Brodeur twice to the blocker side and said it was part of an evolving strategy against the future Hall-of-Famer.

"I think we overanalyzed it a little bit," Williams said. "We tried shooting low to start and he made a bunch of saves, and there's no trick to scoring on any goalie -- shots, screens, tips, rebounds. We drove the net hard."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.12.2012 / 1:46 AM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Devils disappointed, but proud

LOS ANGELES -- As any locker room would be after coming so close to the ultimate prize, the Devils were downtrodden and frustrated after their 6-1 loss to the Kings in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.

After falling into a 3-0 series hole, the Devils fought back to do what no team had done to the Kings throughout the postseason -- beat them twice in a series. It turned out that early hole was too much to overcome, but looking at the big picture, the Devils saw a silver lining in their season.

"We have to be really proud of what we accomplished," Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur said. "Not just in this series, but in the whole playoffs, the whole year. We took down two of our biggest rivals, with the Flyers and Rangers. We made this a series after losing the first three games. It's definitely disappointing not to go all the way, but it's definitely a great season for the Devils.

"The boys played really hard and worked really hard and adjusted ourselves as good as anybody. We came a long way from not making the playoffs last year to challenging for a Stanley Cup. It's disappointing, but I'm really proud of what we accomplished as a group."

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Posted On Sunday, 06.10.2012 / 9:22 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Devils unlikely to make lineup changes

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Barring any last-minute changes like the one Peter DeBoer made before Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Devils will stick with the same lineup for Game 6 on Monday night at Staples Center.

The Devils' line combinations and defense pairings remained unchanged during Sunday's practice at Toyota Sports Center. Defenseman Henrik Tallinder, who convinced DeBoer to let him play in Game 4 and has been excellent in his two games, was again paired with Marek Zidlicky. Forward Petr Sykora wasn't great in Game 5, but he was still on a line with Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus.

The Devils will not have a morning skate before Game 6, instead only having media availability at their team hotel. Unless someone follows in the footsteps of Tallinder and makes a passionate case to play, here's what the Devils' lineup will be as the Kings hold a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven series.
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Posted On Sunday, 06.10.2012 / 9:19 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Elias fine after hit from Greene

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Patrik Elias flew across the country Sunday afternoon as the Devils prepared to play the Los Angeles Kings in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night at Staples Center, which could be considered his second long-distance flight in less than 24 hours.

That's because Kings defenseman Matt Greene sent Elias flying during Game 5 on Saturday night.

Elias was carrying the puck down the left side on a 2-on-1 midway through the first period and tried to slide a pass to Dainius Zubrus. The puck missed its target, but Greene did not. He crushed Elias to the ice and into the end boards, leaving the Devils' center in a heap on the ice for several minutes.

"Yeah, I got hit," Elias said. "I went pretty hard into the boards, but I'm OK."
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Posted On Sunday, 06.10.2012 / 1:18 AM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Parise's hard work finally pays off

NEWARK, N.J. -- Zach Parise was quite honest about his first goal of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night.

"You've got to get lucky sometimes," he said of his first-period power-play goal in the New Jersey Devils' 2-1 win against Los Angeles in Game 5 at Prudential Center that cut the Kings' lead in the best-of-seven series to 3-2.

When Devils assistant coach Adam Oates, the architect of the team's power play, is imagining ways to crack the Kings' nearly invincible penalty kill, he isn't drawing up the series of events that led to Parise's goal.

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Posted On Friday, 06.08.2012 / 3:48 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

DeBoer's one-liner on focus steals the show

NEWARK, N.J. -- Some coaches treat their interaction with the media the way a child would take to eating vegetables -- they do it begrudgingly and only because it's required.

Devils coach Peter DeBoer rarely goes into a press conference with that attitude, and it was on display Friday at Prudential Center.

DeBoer was asked a question from a reporter regarding his approach for keeping his team focused on Game 5 on Saturday and not the big picture of being down 3-1 in a series in which they trailed 3-0 before winning Game 4 on Wednesday.

Without hesitation, DeBoer delivered the quote of the day.

"To focus? I thought that question was going about the lady behind our bench last game," DeBoer said. "I thought we were heading that way."

During Game 4 at Staples Center, a female fan sitting behind the Devils' bench drew plenty of attention from television viewers throughout the contest, but DeBoer and the Devils never took their eyes off what was important.

"You saw my 100-percent focus on the game," DeBoer said. "That's discipline, I'll tell you."

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Posted On Friday, 06.08.2012 / 3:20 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Despite struggles, Devils have faith in power play

NEWARK, N.J. -- At the start of the Stanley Cup Final, it was the Kings' power play that couldn't get anything done. It was 6-for-75, and 3-for-63 dating to Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Vancouver Canucks.

Through four games of the Final, it's the Devils who can't convert with the man-advantage.

The Kings have three power-play goals during the past two games, while New Jersey is 0-for-15 in the series. The Devils went 0-for-6 in Game 3 and failed to convert during a one-minute 5-on-3 power play during the first period.

The Devils went 0-for-3 in Game 4, but had six shots on net, something that's encouraging to coach Peter DeBoer.

"We had some good looks on the power play," DeBoer said. "I know the numbers don't speak well. I know when you're zero-for-whatever, everyone's calling for change, why don't you do this, why don't you do that. The one thing about our team is we believe in what we're doing.

"Most nights, it's about execution. I feel we've gotten good looks on the power play throughout the series. It's looked bad at points, credit to L.A., I think it's also looked real good, and we've gotten quality chances in other series, and prior series, we've stuck it in the net. We're going to stick with it. We're not a team that throws things out because they're not working."

The Devils spent time at the end of practice Friday working on their power play, but David Clarkson said it had nothing to do with the team's inability to finish in this series.

"We're doing a lot of the same things -- cycling the puck, winning battles, getting to the front of the net," Clarkson said. "It was more just an everyday practice where we're trying to create traffic and trying to find ways to get to the net. I think everything will fall into place."

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Posted On Friday, 06.08.2012 / 2:48 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Tallinder draws rave reviews for first game back

NEWARK, N.J. -- Henrik Tallinder felt a wide range of emotions during his first game in almost five months.

"It's a lot of words: Excitement, nervous, happy," Tallinder said. "I mean, there were so many emotions out there. I just enjoyed it. It was so much fun."

The 33-year-old defenseman made his return in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final after dealing with a blood clot in his left leg during the regular season and most of the playoffs. Tallinder took special precautions for the six-hour flight to Los Angeles but was left out of the lineup for Game 3.

Tallinder had 19:21 of ice time on 29 shifts and had two shots on net in Game 4 as the Devils fended off elimination by winning 3-1 to force Game 5 on Saturday night at Prudential Center. He delivered one hit and blocked one shot, and earned rave reviews from coach Peter DeBoer.

"I thought he was outstanding," DeBoer said. "Big boost for us."

It was a boost, however, that nearly didn't happen.

Following practice Tuesday in Los Angeles, DeBoer told Tallinder that he would not be in the lineup for Game 4 and Peter Harrold would remain paired with Anton Volchenkov. Whatever it was that Tallinder said during the conversation, it caused DeBoer to rethink his strategy later that day.

"Really where I had a change of heart was just in his reaction," DeBoer said. "It wasn't negative. He was just adamant that he was ready, really thought he could help. When a player puts his neck on the line like that, I get a real comfort level knowing he was a veteran guy and knowing how good he was at the top of his game for us as a top-two guy, that he could help us.

"It was a little bit of a risk, but he basically talked me into that."

Fellow defenseman Bryce Salvador was impressed with how Tallinder acclimated himself so quickly in the toughest of situations.

"Being out that long, coming back into a do-or-die game in a hostile environment, I think he did unbelievable," Salvador said. "It shows the poise he has to step right in. He was on the puck, making plays, carrying the puck like he hadn't missed a game. It was a positive thing for us. It's nice to have him back."

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Posted On Thursday, 06.07.2012 / 12:52 AM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Devils bounce back after power-play goal

LOS ANGELES -- It took 249 minutes, 51 seconds of the Stanley Cup Final for the New Jersey Devils to play with the lead; it took 62 seconds for them to relinquish it.

In winning the first three games of the series, the Los Angeles Kings never trailed. That was the case through the first two periods of Game 4 on Wednesday night at Staples Center, but the Devils' Patrik Elias banged home a rebound at 7:56 of the third period to put his team ahead 1-0.

Shortly after the watershed moment, Kings defenseman Drew Doughty ripped a one-timer from the blue line during a power play that made it 1-1. L.A. cashed in just four seconds after David Clarkson was sent to the penalty box for boarding Dustin Brown.

But instead of folding, the Devils regrouped.

"That's a crossroads, that's a turning point," coach Peter DeBoer said. "The fact we pushed right back was critical."

Adam Henrique scored the winner less than seven minutes later to help give the Devils a 3-1 victory. Game 5 will take place at Prudential Center in Newark on Saturday night (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

Doughty's goal was especially tough to swallow for the Devils, who weren't happy with the call against Clarkson.

"Coaches and players didn't feel there was a penalty," Clarkson said. "They were letting me know right away. That's the type of guys we have on this team, the leadership we have. It was tough when it gets called like that. But you know what -- we found a way to get the win. That's big going home now."

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Quote of the Day

This is a big year for us in a lot of ways. You can see Garth and management really trying to find that solution to get us into the playoffs and consistently have that. The pressure is great. You have to enjoy it. It just means there's a great opportunity ahead of you.

— Islanders captain John Tavares