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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."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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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."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Friday, 06.08.2012 / 1:38 PM

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

Parise twisted ankle in Game 4 but says he's fine

NEWARK, N.J. -- Devils captain Zach Parise reiterated after participating in New Jersey's full practice Friday that his left ankle is fine even though he appeared to injure it in the third period of Game 4 on Wednesday.

"It just twisted a little bit, but it's OK," said Parise, who did not have any noticeable swelling in the ankle.

Parise, who was again skating on a line with Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk, said he still has not seen the replay of him falling awkwardly into the boards late in the third period.

"My brother watched it and he said, 'I don't know how you didn't break it,'" Parise said.

Parise definitely winced after he went hard into the boards, but he did not miss a shift.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Thursday, 06.07.2012 / 8:57 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Kings not worried about going on the road again

They'd rather have spent Thursday celebrating the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. But the Los Angeles Kings weren't wasting any time Thursday wondering what might have been.

The Kings missed a chance to wrap up the first Stanley Cup in franchise history when they lost 3-1 to the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. Instead of celebrating, the Kings spent the day flying -- to Newark for Game 5 on Saturday night (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

But with a 10-0 record in road games during this spring's playoffs, the Kings were anything but worried about having to make another trip to Prudential Center.

"We just don't let any distractions bother us. We go in, we play our game," forward Justin Williams said before the Kings' flight to Newark on Thursday. "We know the Prudential Center's going to be rocking, just like when we had to go back to Phoenix and play Game 5, go back to Vancouver and play Game 5. The arena's are going to be rocking, and we'll have to be ready for them."

The Kings are just 1-3 in Game 4s this spring, losing three times at home when they've had the chance to complete a series sweep. But they're perfect so far in Game 5s -- L.A. has completed series victories with wins at Vancouver in the opening round and at Phoenix in the Western Conference Finals.

"We feel comfortable on the road," Kings center Anze Kopitar said. "It's unfortunate we couldn't close it last night. But we'll try to do it on Saturday."

Not that it will be easy.

"Elimination games -- I don't know, the teams you play against are there for a reason," forwards Trevor Lewis said. It's not supposed to be a sweep all the time. You're not supposed to win every game.

"We know the fourth game is going to be the hardest," Lewis added. "It's the Stanley Cup Final here. It's pretty tough to sweep. We've got to make sure we're prepared and get ready for Game 5."

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Posted On Thursday, 06.07.2012 / 1:32 AM

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

Sykora gives Devils a lift

LOS ANGELES -- Devils coach Peter DeBoer inserted Petr Sykora into the lineup for Game 4 because he was searching for offense after getting shut out in Game 3 and getting held to one goal apiece in Games 1 and 2. Sykora didn't factor into any of New Jersey's three goals, but he was on the ice for Patrik Elias' goal in the third period.

It was one of many solid shifts by the Devils' reunited second line of Sykora, Elias and Dainius Zubrus -- a trio that combined for a goal, an assist and five shots on goal in the 3-1 win.

"I thought he had a very good game, a very good game," Zubrus said of Sykora. "We played together for most of the game. I thought he was good. He stepped in and played good minutes and did everything the coach was asking for. He jumped in right in there and I thought as a line we had some good chances and puck possession. I thought he had some good looks and good chances. I thought he was good."

Sykora, who hadn't played since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Rangers, was pleased with his game as well. He said the key was just keeping it simple and getting a feel for the puck early.

"It's always good when on the first shift you get the puck twice and make a play," said Sykora, who played 18 shifts totaling 12:19 of ice time. "I was pretty happy about that."

Henrik Tallinder, the other Devil to return to the lineup Wednesday night, told NHL.com following the game that he "feels really good, excellent."

Tallinder hadn't played since developing a blood clot in his leg in mid-January. He played 29 shifts totaling 19:21 and had two shots on goal, a hit and a blocked shot.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Thursday, 06.07.2012 / 1:25 AM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Kings don't get the bounces in Game 4

LOS ANGELESSimon Gagne went from not playing in an NHL game in five months to having a potential Stanley Cup-game-winning goal on his stick.

In the second period of a scoreless Game 4, Gagne broke in for a partial breakaway on Martin Brodeur. As the building collectively held its breath, Brodeur made a left pad save and the New Jersey Devils emerged untouched.

"I would have liked to try another chance like that," Gagne said. "On this play, I tried something on the glove side and he made a big pad save. He played well tonight. He was really in it. We knew that he was going to be one of the best goaltenders [we've faced]."

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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."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.06.2012 / 2:42 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Gagne will remain in Kings lineup for Game 4

LOS ANGELES -- Simon Gagne will have more than a one-off cameo in the Stanley Cup Final.

Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter indicated that Gagne would be back in for Game 4 on Wednesday. Sutter inserted him in Game 3 in Gagne's first game since a Dec. 26 concussion.

Gagne saw 6:39 of ice time and took a slashing penalty.

"Hopefully he’s better tonight," Sutter said.

Gagne said it was somewhat of an eye-opener to be thrust into a Final game after five months off. He feels more comfortable for the second go-around.

"I watched the tape. I watched what I did," Gagne said. "It was good to get back on the ice. I kind of had this feeling what the speed was, but until you play you don't know. It was good to get on it and know how much the game is so intense and so fast. Going there now, I know what to expect and watching the tape of all my shifts, I could change a couple of things. Now I definitely want to take it to the next level tonight."

It is a victory for Gagne just to get back on the ice. He has a history of concussions, and if the Kings didn't make it this far he would have had to wait another six months to play in an NHL game.

"My goal is just to get back to healthy and be 100 percent," Gagne said. "Until you play a game, until you take the time to heal 100 percent, you don't know. That's what's great about this season. This team went far this year to help me, to know that right away instead of waiting in September or October when the season is going to start. For me, with all my past and all the injury I had, it was great to know right away that everything's good. I felt really good. It's been a while since I was feeling good."

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.06.2012 / 2:02 PM

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

Parise gets some fatherly advice

MARINA DEL REY, Calif. -- While staring deep into an 0-3 hole in the Stanley Cup Final, Zach Parise has turned to the one person he trusts to tell him it's not an impossible climb to get back in the series.

J.P. Parise, Zach's father, played for the Islanders when they came back from down 0-3 twice in the 1975 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Islanders beat the Penguins after losing the first three games, but lost in Game 7 to Philadelphia in the next round after losing the first three games.

"He said him and Chico [Resch] are living proof that it can happen," Parise said Wednesday morning. "They did it twice in the one season. Obviously, they won the one and lost the other one. He said with Team Canada [with the 1972 Summit Series], they went into Russia, had to win three games, won three games there. He said it can happen. He said things like this can happen.

"He just said, 'Start with the one tonight and then see what happens.'"

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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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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It's pretty crazy, but believe me when I say we didn't draft these players with the mindset we had to because they had good hockey-playing dads. It just turned out that way. But we're certainly glad they're a part of our organization.

— Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt regarding the coincidence that six of the organization's top prospects are sons of former NHL players