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Posted On Tuesday, 06.12.2012 / 6:56 PM

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

Kings set to bring Cup to late-night television

Roughly 24 hours after winning their first Stanley Cup championship, the Los Angeles Kings will be showing off their trophy on two of the biggest shows on late-night television.

The fun gets under way when Kings captain Dustin Brown appears with hockey's Holy Grail on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35 p.m., NBC). Brown, 27, had eight goals and 12 assists in 20 postseason games.

Led by Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick, the Kings will also make a visit to "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" on Tuesday night. That show begins at midnight and can be seen on ABC.

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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 Tuesday, 06.12.2012 / 1:40 AM

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

Kings wrap up a spring to remember

It took the Los Angeles Kings 45 years to win their first Stanley Cup. But when they did, they won with a flourish.

The Kings completed their run to the Stanley Cup on Monday night by routing New Jersey 6-1 in Game 6 of the Final, capping a postseason in which they went 16-4. That leaves L.A. in a four-way tie for the fewest games needed to win the Cup since 1987, when the NHL adopted a best-of-seven format for all rounds of the playoffs.

The 1988 Edmonton Oilers won in 18 games (16-2), the fewest any team has needed to win the Cup in the last 25 years. The Kings are tied with the 1993 Montreal Canadiens, the 1995 New Jersey Devils and 1997 Detroit Red Wings for second place -- all won in 20 games.

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Posted On Monday, 06.11.2012 / 1:42 PM

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

Devils confident, but grounded heading into Game 6

LOS ANGELES -- Peter DeBoer and the Devils don't feel the situation they're in now is any different than the one they were in the last time they prepared for a game at Staples Center last week.

"I think it's the same feeling as when we were down 3-0," DeBoer said. "I think the hockey world pretty much wrote us off, and I think we feel we've played with no pressure because of that. I don't think that has changed because all of a sudden it is 3-2 now."

What has changed is the Devils confidence, which naturally rises after winning a couple of games in a row, especially against an opponent that seemed invincible before finally being cracked.

They say they're not overconfident heading into Game 6 Monday, but certainly it is something to watch out for.

"Now we won a couple of games we know that obviously we can beat these guys, and that can be very dangerous," Patrik Elias said. "This is the time when we have to take a step back, relax and again, just play the same way. We just gotta make sure that we're playing within our structure, that we don't get too worked up. This is going to be the toughest one."

Devils captain Zach Parise said his sense is that the team is loose, energetic and maybe even a little bit relaxed now that it has two wins under its belt in the Stanley Cup Final. He can say all the same things about himself as well now that he finally scored a goal in Game 5 for his first point of the series.

"When you work and work and you're doing the right things and you're not getting the results, it does get frustrating," Parise said. "It starts to build up, and then when you're able to break through and win a couple of games, that does a lot for the psyche of the team."

However, Parise added that the still dire predicament of having to win or watch the Kings parade around with the Stanley Cup is enough to keep the Devils grounded before Game 6.

"We still know how great of a team they are and how much better we still need to play to make this thing go further," he said. "We're still in a really tough spot having to win a road Game 6 to extend this thing."

The Devils will stick with the same lineup that worked in Games 4 and 5. Here are the likely line combinations and defense pairs:

Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk

Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus

Alexei Ponikarovsky - Adam Henrique - David Clarkson

Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Andy Greene - Mark Fayne

Henrik Tallinder - Marek Zidlicky

Bryce Salvador - Anton Volchenkov

Martin Brodeur

Johan Hedberg

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Monday, 06.11.2012 / 1:12 PM

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

Raising games at crunch time has kept Devils alive

LOS ANGELES -- The New Jersey Devils will try to stave off elimination for the fifth time this postseason in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Each time they have been in this spot, including twice against Florida and twice against the Kings, they feel they have responded because they have been able to raise their game and properly handle the adversity.

"Every time everybody has stepped up and brought their best," Devils rookie Adam Henrique said. "In every single one of those games everybody has stepped up their play."

They'll all have to do it again Wednesday at Staples Center (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS) or the Stanley Cup will be awarded to the Los Angeles Kings.

"That's gut-check time," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "There are clues during the year. At different points you get those pressure points in the season, a must-win, a big game to end a losing streak, to see how your team responds. Until you're actually facing the fact of going home for the summer unless you win, you're not really sure how you're going to respond."

The Devils have responded with two overtime wins against Florida after falling behind 3-2, and two tight wins over the Kings after losing the first three games of the Cup Final.

Devils captain Zach Parise credits the coaching staff for preparing the team for these difficult elimination situations, but he also said there is an element to this team that enables it to thrive through adversity.

Martin Brodeur has a 1.33 goals-against average and .945 save percentage in games when New Jersey is facing elimination.

"Our team must just play well when we're in a pressure situation, and I think that starts with our goaltending," Parise said. "You've got a person that has played in bigger games than any of us have ever played in and he has that sense of calmness back there and is making big saves when we need it. When we've had to play well we've done it for whatever reason."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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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 / 1:20 AM

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

Comeback vibe grows stronger for Henrique

NEWARK, N.J. -- Devils rookie Adam Henrique knows this feeling of crawling back into a series after falling into a 0-3 hole. He savored it two years ago in the OHL playoffs when he was playing for the Windsor Spitfires against the Kitchener Rangers.

Kitchener went up 3-0, but Henrique, Taylor Hall, Cam Fowler and Co. won the next four games and eventually went on to win the Memorial Cup.

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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 Sunday, 06.10.2012 / 1:12 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Offense suddenly hard to come by for Kings

NEWARK, N.J. -- After three rounds of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Los Angeles Kings looked nothing like the team that struggled to score goals before a few personnel changes in February.

After winning the first three games of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, there were few concerns for a team won victory from a championship. Now there is -- the Kings aren't scoring goals like there were a couple of weeks ago.

Los Angeles has only eight regulation goals in five games against Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils, and four of them came in one contest. The Kings do have two overtime tallies, and that is a huge reason why they are up 3-2 in this series and not behind.

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Posted On Saturday, 06.09.2012 / 6:04 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Versatility proves key for Devils forwards

The Devils fourth line of Ryan Carter, Stephen Gionta, and Steve Bernier has been a source of energy and timely scoring throughout the postseason. But the most surprising aspect of that line's success may be that its center isn't really a natural center at all. That versatility has allowed head coach Peter DeBoer and the Devils to adjust from game to game, prolonging the team's Stanley Cup Playoff run.

"I was a little worried to start but I kind of like playing center now," said Gionta. "I just need to work on my faceoffs more."

The ability of the Devils' forwards to shift from one position to another has been an asset for New Jersey, most recently during Game 4 in Los Angeles. That night against the Kings, DeBoer inserted veteran winger Petr Sykora onto a line with Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus, forcing Elias to move to center. On his new line that night, the longtime Devil scored his first goal of the series.

"Patrik played center before. He knows how to play it," said Alexei Ponikarovsky. "We have a few guys like that, who know how to play either wing or center."

In a postseason that has seen the Devils trail 3-2 to Florida, 1-0 to Philadelphia, and 2-1 to the Rangers, the ability to mix things up and adapt has been key for a team looking to complete a comeback for the ages against the Kings. And it’s the adaptability of New Jersey's forwards that could be key if the team wants to make history.

"It's more of a forward position rather than right wing, left wing, center," said Gionta. "I think guys have done a good job of that throughout the playoffs, filling in the different spots."

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Posted On Saturday, 06.09.2012 / 5:44 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Despite drama of Game 5, Devils stay cool

Despite the long odds that lie ahead in Game 5 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final and beyond, the Devils brought a calm, collected approach into the game Saturday night at the Prudential Center.

"There's no need to be uptight and not smile and not have fun. You've got to be able to enjoy it," said Adam Henrique, the rookie forward. "This is a situation where there is nothing we can do except go out and play. Guys are still coming in smiling and having fun."

Attempting to come back from a 3-1 deficit in games, it certainly helps to have a strong veteran presence from players like Martin Brodeur and Patrik Elias, two long-time Devils with five Stanley Cup wins between them. The team also appeared to benefit in Game 4 from the return to the lineup of veteran Petr Sykora, who with his appearance Wednesday night has now appeared in six different Stanley Cup Finals with three different teams.

"It's just a veteran presence we have in the locker room. Guys who have been to the Final a few times," said Stephen Gionta, another rookie. "It's a calming feeling when those guys are just sitting back and loose and looking forward to playing tonight."

That veteran presence helps, but there's no substitute for experience, and this Devils team has gained plenty of it during the past two months, coming back from a series deficit in each of the first three playoff rounds. That ability to battle adversity has given New Jersey a cool confidence that could come in handy if they hope to prolong their season.

"The confidence just comes from within the room. At this time of the year, in the situation we are, the last thing you want is panic or negative thoughts. You have to think positive, stay positive," said Alexei Ponikarovsky. "Why you have to get worried? About what? It's hockey. You go and play [hard], get another goal, tie it up, then all of a sudden momentum swings and you get another one."

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Posted On Saturday, 06.09.2012 / 4:33 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

OHL-NCAA rivalry helps keep Devils room laughing

In the New Jersey Devils' wild run to the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, a number of big names have made plays to prolong the postseason in Newark. But it's two young forwards in particular who have provided the bulk of the team's heroic moments.

The only Ontario-born players on the team, David Clarkson and Adam Henrique, are tied for the NHL postseason lead with three game-winning goals each and have combined to set up four game-winning and three game-tying markers. That flair for the dramatic hasn't just kept the Devils alive in the playoffs, it has added fuel to a friendly rivalry that has been going on in the team's locker room much of the season.

"I guess it's an OHL thing. I've still got to let Zach [Parise] know it's the best league to play in before coming to the NHL," joked Henrique, who scored two series-winning overtime goals before notching the game-winner Wednesday night against the Kings. "He tries to play it off like it's nothing, but I think he knows where the real hockey is."

Playoff heroics aside, Henrique and Clarkson have been outnumbered in the NCAA vs. OHL debate much of the season. Aside from team captain Parise, who attended the University of North Dakota, the Devils locker room is filled with several U.S. college products. They include fellow UND product Travis Zajac as well as Andy Greene (Miami-Ohio), Ryan Carter (Minnesota State-Mankato), Stephen Gionta (Boston College), Peter Harrold (Boston College), and Mark Fayne (Providence). But even surrounded by U.S. collegians, Henrique and Clarkson feel plenty confident representing "the O."

"We bug the college guys. There is always that college-OHL argument in here. It's more fun than anything," Clarkson said, who has plenty of support for Ontario within the organization. "We've got a large crew of OHL guys to hold it down. It's just a little joke we have in the room."

That crew holding it down has considerable sway in the Devils' locker room. Of the five members of New Jersey's coaching staff, four are Ontario-born and have coached or played in the OHL. That group includes head coach Peter Deboer, who played for the Windsor Spitfires for four years before returning to the league as a coach and eventually winning a Memorial Cup with Clarkson and the Kitchener Rangers in 2008.

The Devils' focus remains staving off elimination against the Kings in the Final, but the NCAA-OHL debate could wage on long after the series ends.

"We've got a lot of guys who have our backs on that one. It's fun," Henrique said. "I give it to them [college players] all the time about that."

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Posted On Saturday, 06.09.2012 / 3:36 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Sutter missing Farmers' Day in Alberta for Game 5

It's safe to assume that there isn't anywhere else Kings coach Darryl Sutter would rather be this weekend than Newark, as his team prepares for an opportunity to wrap up the first Stanley Cup win in franchise history. But for the man who admitted he was working on his farm when the offer to become Los Angeles' head coach came last December, there is still a part of him thinking about Alberta just hours before Game 5 at Prudential Center

"It's Farmers' Day in Alberta," Sutter pointed out following his team's morning skate.

As a member of a large family that has been almost as prolific in farming as in hockey, there won't be too many people in New Jersey this weekend who know more about Alberta's Farming Day than Darryl Sutter. Celebrated across the province this weekend, the holiday was originally proclaimed in Alberta in 1951 and some schools in the province even reserve the right to close on the second Friday in June in commemoration. A longtime veteran of the agricultural celebration, Sutter attempted to stay coy when asked what exactly the holiday entailed.

"[It's] a big picnic with coolers," he said. "Hope you know what that means."

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Posted On Saturday, 06.09.2012 / 1:25 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Sutter provides loose, focused atmosphere ahead of Game 5

Following a light shootaround Saturday with the majority of the Kings' roster and a brief session practicing faceoffs with assistant coach Jamie Kompon and the team's centers, Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter appeared cool, collected, and above all ready for Game 5 against the Devils.

"You just want to play games. That's what they [the players] want to do too," said the Kings coach after acknowledging the birthday of Jack Ferreira, the team's special assistant to general manger Dean Lombardi. "He and [Devils CEO/president/general manage] Lou [Lamoriello] were both born in Providence. I won't say what his age is, but it's sixty-something."

With the extra off day behind him and no changes to his lineup, Sutter was focused primarily on the upcoming game. His team had already been subjected to almost 72 hours of discussion following the Game 4 loss that denied Los Angeles a sweep in the Stanley Cup Final. But with any distractions now in his rearview, Sutter downplayed any pressure surrounding this incredible opportunity for the Kings.

"I don't think there is any pressure on our team at all. The only pressure is the pressure they put on themselves to be as good as they can be," Sutter said. "It's not pressure, it's a good place."

And with only a few hours remaining before Game 5 at Prudential Center, Sutter was excited to see his team's effort.

"From a coaching standpoint, you're always looking for your team's best game," said Sutter. "I never question my team's effort."

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Posted On Saturday, 06.09.2012 / 12:50 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Devils stick to same lineup for Game 5

Clearly, Peter DeBoer liked what he saw out of his team in Game 4 on Wednesday.

As a result, he won't tinker with the lineup for Game 5, another elimination game for his club.

That means that forward Petr Sykora and defenseman Henrik Tallinder will stay in the lineup in place of Jacob Josefson and Peter Harrold, respectively.

Tallinder played 19:21 in his first action in five months after battling a blood clot and its complications. Sykora, meanwhile, played for the first time since May 19 when Josefson was re-inserted into the lineup during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the rangers

Yet, DeBoer has no reservations that either player will hit the wall in the second game back from a long layoff.

"I don't see that as an issue," DeBoer said after his team took an optional morning skate Saturday at the Prudential Center. "I don't have to talk to those guys. Between them, they've got decades of experience at the NHL level and in the playoffs. They know their bodies. I don't buy that the second game is going to be tougher. You're in the Stanley Cup Final. They're ready to go."

Here is the Devils expected line up for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final:

Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk

Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus

Alexei Ponikarovsky - Adam Henrique - David Clarkson

Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Henrik Tallinder - Marek Zidlicky

Andy Greene - Mark Fayne

Bryce Salvador - Anton Volchenkov

Martin Brodeur

Johan Hedberg

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Posted On Friday, 06.08.2012 / 5:13 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Personnel changes give Kings PP a boost

NEWARK, N.J. -- For weeks members of the Los Angeles Kings have been quizzed about their power play, to the point where the answers blended together with each passing game.

That was because the team couldn’t score with the man advantage. Now, after two straight games with a power-play goal, there were more questions for the Kings after practice Friday -- but they were more positive queries.

“We’ve been able to shoot the puck and we’ve been able to get traffic,” forward Justin Williams said. “There is no secret to a good power play. Everyone knows that -- shots, tips, screens, rebounds.”

All of those questions before came because the Kings could not score with the man advantage. Los Angeles had six power-play goals in 16 games after Game 2 of this Stanley Cup Final -- and three of them came with a two-man advantage.

The Kings were 3-for-71 in 5-on-4 situations, a black mark on an otherwise pristine run through the Western Conference and to a 2-0 lead in this series against the New Jersey Devils. Now the Kings have scored three times in the past two games, including two in less than three minutes of the third period to put away Game 3 and another that evened Game 4 in the third period.

“We’ve been just been very opportunistic,” Williams said. “We haven’t gotten very many, and when you don’t get many power plays, you tend to put more focus on it, which you shouldn’t, but New Jersey doesn’t take many so we don’t get many opportunities.”

One of the changes in Game 3 was the addition of Dustin Penner to the second power-play unit. Penner has played with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter on the second line since the start of the second round, but Richards and Carter were previously on the top power-play unit with Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty.

Williams was previously on the second unit with Dwight King and Jarret Stoll. Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said his reason for switching the personnel -- the Kings went with their top two lines and two defensemen on the two units -- was because the team was protecting a two-goal lead, but Penner’s big body created a screen for Carter’s tally to make it 3-0.

“Line combos instead of power-play combos,” Brown said. “I don't know if that had anything to do with it. Ultimately we're getting shots to the net.”

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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."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Friday, 06.08.2012 / 3:36 PM

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

DeBoer praises Elias as player who 'does it all'

NEWARK, N.J. -- If it turns out that the goal that flipped momentum in the Stanley Cup Final indeed was the one that Patrik Elias scored in the third period of Game 4, well consider Devils coach Peter DeBoer among the people least surprised about that.

DeBoer praised Elias on Friday for being "a Hall of Fame player." He said Elias "does it all," and that "he's a coach in the dressing room." DeBoer even wondered what type of fame Elias would have if he were playing in a high-profile hockey city like Toronto.

"He knows how to win. He knows how to find another level at key times," DeBoer said. "He had some struggles early in the playoffs, but you can see, I think he's been our most consistent guy here through the Final. There's a reason he's got multiple Stanley Cups."

If Elias is going to have a chance at another, he and the Devils have to win Game 5. They will likely go with the same lineup that was good enough to win Game 4. Here it is:


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

Henrik Tallinder - Marek Zidlicky
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Anton Volchenkov

Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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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 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.

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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.

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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."

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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.'"

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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.

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.05.2012 / 4:50 PM

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

Sykora appears set to return to Devils lineup

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- It took three straight losses, but Devils coach Peter DeBoer appears to be ready to tweak his lineup during the Stanley Cup Final.

Forward Petr Sykora will apparently return to the lineup for Game 4 on Wednesday night and replace Jacob Josefson, who snagged Sykora's spot in the lineup after Game 2 of the conference finals against the Rangers.

Sykora skated at practice Tuesday afternoon on a line with Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus while Josefson was skating with Cam Janssen and Eric Boulton as part of the extra fifth line. DeBoer wouldn't say for certain Sykora is back, but he said he's considering the switch.

"He's an option for us," DeBoer said. "We're going to consider him. We haven't scored and he's a guy who doesn't need a lot of looks to stick one in the net."

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.05.2012 / 4:32 PM

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

Sutter's blunt, no-nonsense style clicking in L.A.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- There's no ambiguity with Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter.

He's long known as blunt and honest, and he will drop an expletive now and then to get a point across, such as in December when he called Dustin Penner’s play "horse [expletive]."

Sutter reminded everyone of his no-nonsense way of communicating Tuesday when he was asked, on microphone during his off-day press conference, where he was when Kings general manager Dean Lombardi called him about the coaching job.

"I think I was in the barn [in Alberta]," Sutter said. "I wasn't shoveling [expletive]. I remember that. But I had that day."

It was the line of the day for many who are not around Sutter regularly, and even for those who are. For his players, it's just another daily dose of Darryl, who tends a farm in the family's home near Viking, Alberta.

"It doesn’t surprise me at all," Colin Fraser said. "He likes using farming references all the time -- 'strapping the feedbag on' and stuff. He looks intimidating and all that stuff, but he actually has a good sense of humor. I think he's got a good balance of when guys need a kick in the butt and when they need a pat on the back. He's got good timing with both the humor and the seriousness."

Players actually had trouble understanding Sutter when he first arrived because he mumbles. Dustin Brown said they didn't bother going to the grease board in the first few practices, but they eventually learned Sutter's nuances and delivery.

Most players like that he's a throwback-type of coach.

"He's pretty rough around the edges," Rob Scuderi said. "But I think most guys in hockey can kind of appreciate it because we all come from pretty humble backgrounds, so it's more funny than anything."

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.05.2012 / 4:28 PM

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

Kings announcers to make 'call' of Game 4

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Longtime Los Angeles Kings television announcers Bob Miller and Jim Fox will get to call a potential Stanley Cup-clinching game after all.

The pair will record a call on their own for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday and the recording will likely be made available later for fans, team spokesman Mike Altieri said.

The Los Angeles Kings will attempt to sweep the New Jersey Devils for their first Cup in franchise history. Kings fans have missed hearing Miller, the play-by-play announcer since 1973, and Fox, the analyst since 1990, call the games on a remarkable 15-2 run by L.A. and they naturally want a Miller-Fox Cup-clinching recording for posterity.

Miller and Fox called the Western Conference Quarterfinals before NBC and its affiliate networks assumed broadcasting rights.

Altieri said Miller and Fox were excited to do it as the plan has been in the works for weeks.

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.05.2012 / 4:22 PM

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

Gagne's return provided Kings with 'extra jump'

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- It was difficult to tell whether Simon Gagne had the desired impact when he returned to the lineup for the first time in five months.

Gagne played fewer than seven minutes of ice time Monday in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, and Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter wouldn't elaborate on Gagne on Tuesday. Game 4 is Wednesday.

"Well he hadn't played for six months," Sutter said. "He played six minutes. So we'll make that decision tomorrow."

In a stunning move, Sutter activated Gagne in place of Brad Richardson on the fourth line. Gagne had not played since Dec. 26 because of a concussion, but eventually got healthy and, remarkably, became available in late May.

Gagne's teammates were naturally happy to see him return after such a long road back.

"He's been my teammate for a while, and to see him come back from something that didn't look very good for him -- it was a big thing, I think, for our hockey team," Mike Richards said. "It gave us probably a little extra jump to see him in the lineup."

Richards identifies with Gagne, a former Philadelphia Flyers teammate, because Richards also had a concussion in December. Richards only missed eight games and hinted he might have come back too soon. Gagne was out for so long it was thought to be a potentially career-ending concussion.

"A good friend, to come back from an injury like that -- sometimes you don't know with things like that," Richards said. "It was nice to see and I'm sure he enjoyed being on the ice and we definitely enjoyed having him."

By playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Gagne is eligible to get his name engraved on the Cup, although a team can also petition for a player to receive the honor.

Gagne had seven goals and 10 assists in 34 regular season games.

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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."

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Posted On Monday, 06.04.2012 / 7:32 PM

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

Messier talks Rangers growth, Gaborik injury

LOS ANGELES -- Mark Messier stayed in the background during the Eastern Conference Finals this year, opting to let the New York Rangers enjoy the spotlight in their showdown with the New Jersey Devils.

The Devils won the series in six games, exacting a small measure of revenge for the 1994 conference finals when Messier's Rangers defeated the Devils in seven games and went on to win the Stanley Cup.

Messier was on hand Monday at Staples Center before Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final to announce the finalists for his leadership award, a trio that included the Rangers' Ryan Callahan, the Kings' Dustin Brown and the Coyotes' Shane Doan, and discussed his emotions while watching the Devils and Rangers renew pleasantries 18 years later.

"It was an incredible time," said Messier, who serves as a special assistant to Rangers GM Glen Sather. "A lot of our teammates were texting back and forth and talking during the series. I was trying to stay out of the way during the series. I really felt the players on both teams earned the right to be in that position and shouldn't have been overshadowed by things that happened prior to that series. My ship had sailed a long time ago."

One of the big reasons the Rangers fell short this year was Marian Gaborik, who played nearly the entire postseason with a torn rotator cuff and had just five goals and six assists in 20 games. Gaborik will be out five to six months while he recovers, meaning he could miss the first couple of months of the 2012-13 season, but Messier has seen him grow since signing with the Rangers three years ago.

"Marian Gaborik is 10 times the hockey player he was when he came to the Rangers," Messier said. "He continues to improve and continues to want to improve."

Despite the disappointment, Messier believes this year's deep run for a young Rangers team could pay dividends down the road.

"I think the last three years have been a real great spark for the team and the organization," Messier said. "I think Glen has really done a great job of getting some key people in the right spots. I think the year that we had this year is a culmination of what we had the last couple years. Going forward, I think this year, you can't quantify what it means for these players to play this string of playoff hockey, to feel what it's like to play that deep in the playoffs. Those are hard lessons to learn unless you experience them. From that standpoint, our team has taken a major leap forward this year."

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Posted On Monday, 06.04.2012 / 2:34 PM

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

Kings excited by mild weather, good ice conditions

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles in June is not exactly what comes to mind when thinking of crisp ice surfaces and fall-like weather conditions. But defenseman Willie Mitchell sounded giddy after the morning skate at Staples Center on a mild, gray Monday.

"I don't want to say it, but it felt like the [Edmonton] Oilers ice in the mid-'90s out there," Mitchell said. "It felt great.  We could have a decent hockey game on our hands -- not too humid. It's cold out there, the ice is nice. You can actually make passes.

"You don't say that about Staples ice too often. It tells you how bad the ice was out in New Jersey. It felt really nice out there and guys were quite excited about it, and I'm sure the Devils will be as well. I think you'll probably get much more up-tempo hockey game because of that."

Both the Kings and Devils are looking forward to a smoother surface for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final after they slugged through a humid Game 1 at the Prudential Center. Several players complained about the poor ice causing bouncing pucks as both teams had to play more conservatively.

It's a common issue with hockey in June, no matter the city or venue. Mother Nature seemed to be in compliance in L.A. on Monday as it was expected to be 69 degrees with 71 percent humidity.

A full building will affect the ice slightly, but the Kings players said a Staples surface that isn't known for smoothness felt good.

"It was a lot better -- which is funny considering Staples ice," captain Dustin Brown said. "We complain about Staples ice all year. Granted, it's a lot better when it's an empty building … I think it will be a quicker game because of the ice."

Said Jarret Stoll, "I think the temperature in the building is a difference, for sure. I noticed it during the skate this morning. We expect to be sharp. We expect to be crisp, and we'll go for there."

Home ice hasn't really been kind to the Kings. Their only two losses of the Stanley Cup Playoffs have come at Staples. They have outscored opponents 34-15 on the road and 11-9 at home. They have one power-play goal at home against five on the road.

Those five shorthanded goals by L.A.? All came on the road.

The Kings will otherwise look to feed off their home crowd. Although cavernous, Staples Center is known as one of the louder arenas come playoff time, and the adrenaline level can be elevated for players.

"You got to harness it," Mitchell said. "I think you can't play outside yourself. Just do what we do and do it hard, and kind of find that fine line where you don't get overly excited and use it to motivate you."
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Posted On Monday, 06.04.2012 / 2:24 PM

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

Brown still seeking first point of Stanley Cup Final

LOS ANGELES -- Kings captain Dustin Brown was the early favorite for the Conn Smythe Trophy but the New Jersey Devils have kept him off the score sheet in the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final.

Brown, who had seven goals and nine assists in the first 14 playoff games, had no shots on goal with four hits in Game 2. He said the Devils have been effective defending his line of Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams.

"I think they've done a good job on us," Brown said. "I think it's up to me, Kopi and Williams to make adjustments to be better. I think collectively we had one shot on goal last game, which is not good enough, individually or as a line. And that's up to me, Kopi and Will to find a way to better. I know I can be personally better along the walls. I'm sure if you ask Kopi and Will, they'll say they can be better."

Brown, of course, does other things that count. He had three shots and three hits and a blocked shot in Game 1.

"Brownie does a lot of things that people don't notice," Jarret Stoll said. "He's doing his thing. He's a player that can break out offensively at any moment. He does a lot of things out there that help our team win the game. Every facet, on and off the ice, he's phenomenal."
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Posted On Monday, 06.04.2012 / 12:58 PM

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

DeBoer waiting for more from Devils' top players

MARINA DEL REY, Calif. -- Two games, two goals. As tight as the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final have been, the Devils have only scored one in each of them, making it nearly impossible to win.

The goals have come from defenseman Anton Volchenkov and fourth-line winger Ryan Carter. Through two games, the Devils' best players haven't broken through against Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.

Devils coach Peter DeBoer said before the series, which the Kings lead 2-0 with Game 3 set for Monday night at Staples Center, that David Clarkson was a big-time goal-scorer. Despite Clarkson's missed chances in Game 1 and struggles in Game 2, DeBoer maintains that belief.

"Yeah, for me that hasn't changed," DeBoer said. "I thought Game 1, he was arguably our best forward. I thought he could have had two or three goals. He's a guy on the verge of breaking out, as is (Zach) Parise, as is (Ilya) Kovalchuk.

"I don't think it's any secret -- we have to score more than one goal.  All those guys on that list have to find a way."

Clarkson had a pair of golden opportunities in Game 1, but never got his shot to the net on either of them. In one instance, Quick was well out of position, but Clarkson snapped his shot over the net and off the glass.

Rushed shots and overthinking, however, are two things that come with the territory when facing an elite goaltender like Quick.

"Yeah, he's a good goalie," Clarkson said. "The first one I let get away from me, was trying to go high. I thought maybe he was going to go down. I tried to go up high, missing that one. On the other, there was so much excitement when I saw the open net, I don't know if I hit the guy's skate or what happened.

"But, yeah, he's a goalie that definitely makes you think. You can't do that. This time of the season, we have to put it on net, get back to doing what made us successful and got us here today."

Parise put the puck into the net in Game 1, but did so illegally with his glove. Kovalchuk hit a crossbar in the dying seconds of regulation in Game 2. The two were put on a line together at the end of Game 2 and will likely start that way in Game 3.

"I feel like we had good scoring opportunities," Parise said. "Even in overtime, I know we had two or three good chances there, too. All in all, I thought it was OK.  I mean, we didn't end up putting one in the net, but we had some chances. Hopefully we'll rebound tonight. We've played pretty well together all season. Hopefully tonight will be better."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Monday, 06.04.2012 / 12:34 PM

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

Early wake-up call as Devils adjust to Pacific time

MARINA DEL REY, Calif. -- It was a little bit before 8 a.m. local time Monday when Devils coach Peter DeBoer stepped to the podium in a conference room at The Ritz-Carlton hotel, which is about 30 minutes from Staples Center, the site of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Players Bryce Salvador, Andy Greene, Zach Parise and David Clarkson addressed the media as well, all before 8:30 a.m. With a 5 p.m. start against the Los Angeles Kings, the Devils had to get up pretty early in the morning to fulfill their responsibilities and address reporters.

"It's one of those things where I didn't really focus too much on it, to be honest," Salvador said. "It hasn't been that big of a deal."

It's a massive change in routine for the Devils in many respects. One, very rarely will a team eschew a morning skate unless it is playing on back-to-back days. Also, this was the first time the Devils boarded a plane since eliminating the Florida Panthers in the first round on April 26.

If the 37-day break from air travel isn't enough, Game 3 of the Cup Final is the Devils' first outside of the Eastern time zone since playing in Winnipeg on Jan. 14.

"We were pretty fortunate for two series to not get on a plane," Greene said. "It feels good to get back into this routine a little bit and get back on the road and get away from home and get back to being focused on just the single thing, it's the game. It's not that we're not focused at home, but on the road, there are a lot less distractions. I think it'll be a big plus for us."

"Hopefully it plays to our advantage, getting that extra rest and not having those long flights," Parise said. "Hopefully as the series moves on, that'll be to our advantage."

Despite the unique game-day schedule, DeBoer said the plan was to get his team adjusted to the Pacific time zone as quickly as possible.

"We had a later dinner," DeBoer said. "We tried to keep the guys up until 10 or 11 o'clock. I don't know if it's realistic, but you want to get on L.A. time as quickly as you can. That's our thought process."

Greene said not having a game-day skate at Staples Center shouldn't be a hindrance.

"I don't think it's that big of a deal," he said. "We had a good practice yesterday after we got off the flight, had good energy out there. Guys were upbeat and ready. It's not like when we skate out there in the morning skate, it's not like we're out there for an hour testing the ice anyways. You're out there for 10 or 15 minutes and done. Get out there in warmups, get a good warmup and be ready for the game.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Monday, 06.04.2012 / 11:06 AM

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

No lineup changes for Devils in Game 3

MARINA DEL REY, Calif. -- New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer said there will be no lineup changes for his team in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night against the Los Angeles Kings.

The Devils are down 2-0 in the series, but DeBoer liked the way his team raised its game in a 2-1 overtime loss in Game 2 after losing in the same fashion in Game 1.

"We seriously consider lineup changes," DeBoer said. "We've got some depth players, some big people that are available to us. The process we've gone through after every game is watch the tape and see who can come in or come out and make us a better team. We don't want to do it based on the situation we're in. A couple guys had good games last game, and just because you lost or you're in a 2-0 hole doesn't mean you make changes just to make changes. I don't think we're at that point. We don't need to panic and do that."

Defenseman Henrik Tallinder, who is healthy after dealing with a blood clot in his leg in January, made the trip to Los Angeles but will not break into the lineup. Rookie Adam Larsson, who hasn't played since Game 1 of the conference finals against the Rangers, will sit for the eighth straight game.

These are the lines the Devils showed at practice Tuesday. With a 5 p.m. local start time for Game 3, the Devils did not have a morning skate.

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

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

Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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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 Sunday, 06.03.2012 / 8:29 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. -- The New Jersey Devils are in a 2-0 hole against the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final, but it appears coach Peter DeBoer doesn't have any intentions of changing his lineup.

DeBoer shuffled his lines during the end of Game 2 on Saturday -- the Devils' second straight 2-1 overtime loss of the series  -- and that was what was on display at practice Sunday afternoon. There was no change to the defense pairings, with Henrik Tallinder and Adam Larsson skating together.

"We look at every option after every game, win or lose," said DeBoer, who liked his team's performance in Game 2. "We want to put the best lineup on the ice. All those guys are a consideration after every game."

Here is what the Devils showed at practice. The team will not skate in the morning before Game 4 on Monday, as the local start time for the game is 5 p.m. Instead, the Devils will only have media availability at their hotel at 8 a.m.

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

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

Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Sunday, 06.03.2012 / 7:11 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

L.A.'s power-play ineffectiveness one of few worries

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Killing penalties has been a great strength for the Los Angeles Kings in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
 
They have erased 92.1 percent of their foes' opportunities, which is tied with the St. Louis Blues for best among the 16 postseason participants. They are also perfect in two games against the New Jersey Devils in the Cup Final.

Still, it is a concern for the Kings that they have put New Jersey on the power play so much -- eight times in two games, more than twice the number of man-advantage situations they have earned.
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Posted On Sunday, 06.03.2012 / 6:18 PM

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

Kings comfortable playing in tight games

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – The obvious knock on the Los Angeles Kings for most of the season was that they were stellar defensively to stay in games, but didn't have enough offense to close it out a victory.

Even after Darryl Sutter was hired on Dec.21, the Kings struggled to score for two months. However, they still managed to go 25-13-11 under Sutter.

That last number is telling. Los Angeles played in 24 overtime or shootout games in the regular season, tied with the Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks for the second-most in the League. The Kings also played in 46 one-goal games (the New Jersey Devils played in 37). L.A. is 6-0 in one-goal playoff games, while New Jersey is 6-4.

So did the experience from playing in all those close games carry over into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where the Kings are 4-0 in overtime games?

"It would be interesting to see how many one-goal games we've played the last three years," Dustin Brown said.

That's a reflection of former coach Terry Murray, who was instrumental in molding the Kings into the defense-first team that is the foundation of this edition's juggernaut. L.A.'s lack of offense got him fired, though, and Sutter made them more aggressive without compromising that defense.

It also helps to have a unique mix of veterans and young stars, too.

"It's part of the makeup of our team and how we play," Brown said. "I think we're definitely comfortable in tight games, and that's due to some guys having a lot of big game experience and some guys playing here the last few years have been in a lot of those situations."


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Posted On Sunday, 06.03.2012 / 1:39 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Depth plays huge role for Kings in Game 2

NEWARK, N.J. -- Jonathan Quick is the constant, the bedrock of the Los Angeles Kings machine.

He makes the engine go, but the guy or guys who have helped Quick lead the Kings to victory after victory this postseason has been a rotating cast of characters. Trying to figure out who that guy is going to be is probably futile -- the Kings certainly don't who it is going to be.

They just expect it to be someone, and it is hard to argue with that belief after this incredible playoff run.

"It is the depth on our team," Jarrett Stoll said. "We've got a lot of guys that can put the puck in the net. We've got a lot of guys that come up with big plays. That's what you need. I don't think you can win with one or two lines and a couple D, or just a goaltender. You've got to have good depth and guys who chip in, whether it is offensively scoring a goal or killing penalties or blocking shots or taking a hit to take a play. There are so many things that go into it, but right now there a lot of guys doing a lot of good things."

Jeff Carter was the hero Saturday night, whipping a shot through a mass of bodies in overtime to give the Kings a 2-1 victory and a 2-0 series lead. Carter hasn't been a star for the Kings in this postseason, but they haven't needed him to be.

He's got five goals and 10 points, which has made him a solid secondary option. Game 2 has been Carter's time in this postseason. He had a goal in Game 2 against St. Louis, and he had a hat trick in to help the Kings to a 2-0 lead in the conference against Phoenix.

"You should come in every game expecting to win -- every game, regardless if you're home or away, thinking you're going to win," Justin Williams said. "We have that. The first two games could have gone either way. We've had a different hero step up, and tonight it was Jeff."

Anze Kopitar was that guy in Game 1 against the Devils. Dustin Brown has been that guy on a few occasions.
It hasn't always been the stars, though. Stoll sealed the first-round victory with a Game 5 overtime goal. Dustin Penner added an OT winner in Game 5 against the Coyotes. Dwight King, who was in the American Hockey League until February, and has spent most of this postseason as a bottom-six forward, has five goals for Los Angeles.
Every night it might be someone different, and the Kings are two wins from the Stanley Cup in part because of that.

The other part is Quick, who is now 14-2 and the Kings have scored a total of one goal in his two losses.
He fumbled the puck a few times early in Game 1, which might have just been Cup Final nerves, but Quick was outstanding late in that contest throughout Game 2. He's allowed two goals in two games -- one went off a teammate and in, and the other was tipped and veered at a sharp angle.

"He was on his game the whole time," Matt Greene said. "Game 1 you can say it was nerves or it wasn't, but he was there when we needed him and he's been a force all playoffs. ... We haven't had the best games [against New Jersey] in front of [Quick], but he's kept us in it and allowed us to get the wins."

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Posted On Sunday, 06.03.2012 / 1:35 AM

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

Devils' power play struggles again

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Devils' power play had three shots in four empty chances in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night. Not only were the Devils inept with the man-advantage, they allowed the Kings two shots while they were killing penalties.

The final power-play opportunity came late in regulation with the game tied, and while the Devils didn't get a shot on goaltender Jonathan Quick, forward Ilya Kovalchuk ripped a shot that hit the crossbar. That was about as close as the Devils came to scoring on the power play in a game they would lose in overtime 2-1 to fall into a 2-0 series hole.

"It's embarrassing the way we played," Kovalchuk said about the power play. "We have to work harder on the power play. We just think it'll be easy, but they have a great penalty kill for a reason. We have to be sharper and work, support each other everywhere, because I don't think we got a shot on net in three power plays."

The Devils are now 0-for-6 in the series, which shifts to Los Angeles for Game 3 on Monday night. During their first power play, which came early in the first period, the Devils never generated a sustained attack. Instead, the Devils allowed two scoring chances to forwards Mike Richards and Trevor Lewis, sapping the strength of a strong start.
Less than two minutes after that first power play didn't bear fruit, Kings defenseman Drew Doughty gutted the Devils' defense for a highlight-reel goal that made it 1-0.

"I don't know if it's our PP or their PK," Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur said. "They're killing really aggressively and making a lot of good plays. They're not taking any chances and we're having a hard time getting to our setup. It's definitely something we have to work at and make sure we're a little better."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Saturday, 06.02.2012 / 12:00 PM

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

Tallinder ready, could make appearance in Final

NEWARK, N.J. -- A blood clot in his left leg kept Henrik Tallinder out of the Devils lineup since Jan. 17, but the 33-year-old defenseman is now healthy enough to board a plane to Los Angeles during the Stanley Cup Final.

Devils coach Peter DeBoer said he has no reservations about putting Tallinder in his lineup, although that won't be the case in Game 2 of Stanley Cup Final against the Kings on Saturday night (8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS). DeBoer had some concerns about letting Tallinder take a six-hour flight due to his blood-clotting condition, but the team gave him clearance.

"Sure, you worry about it," DeBoer said. "Our doctors, trainers and him have a comfort level or he wouldn't be traveling with us. It's definitely an issue. I think a lot of people point to airplane flight as the cause for that."

Tallinder wasn't available Saturday to discuss what precautions he'll need to take in order to fly, but he once again skated with the team's black aces. He has been healthy enough to play for about two weeks, and DeBoer has fewer worries about putting Tallinder back in the lineup after such a long layoff after seeing forwards Travis Zajac and Jacob Josefson seamlessly jump back into game conditions after lengthy absences.

You're never sure. I do know this -- he's kept himself in great shape," DeBoer said. "He looks good in practice. Before he went out, he was a top-two defenseman for us. You miss two, two and a half months. It didn't hurt Zajac coming back in. I know you're jumping into the Stanley Cup Final, not into the last week of the regular season.  But Josefson jumped in last round against the Rangers coming off six weeks out with a broken wrist, and it didn't hurt him.

"You hope you get the desired result, but you never know."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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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 / 6:55 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Evans glad to see current Kings making history

It remains perhaps the greatest moment in Los Angeles Kings history. From his perfect shot to his euphoric celebration, Daryl Evans' overtime goal completed the Kings' historic comeback from a 5-0 third-period deficit against the Edmonton Oilers on April 10, 1982 -- a game forever known in L.A. as the "Miracle on Manchester."

Thirty years later, fresh off Anze Kopitar's show-stopping overtime goal in Game 1 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, Evans is thrilled to see this year's Kings writing a new chapter in the franchise's history.

"There have been a lot of big plays. You go back to the beginning of the playoffs, when Jarret Stoll got the game-winner in overtime against Vancouver. Then [Dustin] Penner's [series-clinching] goal against Phoenix," said Evans, who now does color commentary on the Kings' radio broadcasts. "You know that these are going to be moments that go down in Kings history."

If there's anyone who knows about Kings history, it's Evans. His goal remains one of the marquee moments in franchise history, and he played parts of four seasons with the team before spending the last 13 seasons in the radio booth. He has also served as a power skating consultant for the team since 2007. But it's his historic OT winner that he's still best known for, a distinction he doesn't shy away from.

"It comes up a lot, especially at this time of year. It comes to the forefront in the playoffs. I never get tired of talking about it," Evans told NHL.com. "Edmonton that year finished 46 points ahead of us in the regular season. It really was a remarkable evening. It was capped off by a great finish with the game winning goal."

Incredible as that goal may have been, it could be eclipsed by Kopitar's Game 1 overtime winner against New Jersey. How the series ends could ultimately dictate how that goal is remembered, but Evans knew it was a special play the moment he saw it.

"It's only the first game of the series," he said, "but these are the goals and moments that Kings fans will always remember."

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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 / 4:15 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

For young players in Final, getting back no certainty

Between Adam Henrique scoring two series-clinching goals and Dwight King notching several big goals in the Western Conference Finals, youth has served both Stanley Cup Final teams well. But for players who have made it to hockey's grandest stage early in their careers, getting back there is far from a guarantee.

"Things happened so quick. It felt like this is what we're supposed to do, be in the Final every year," said Rob Blake, who played in the 1993 Cup Final with the Kings in just his third NHL season. "Ten years later, I realized quickly that that doesn't happen. I can share with young players that you need to take advantage of the opportunity when you can."

Both the Kings and Devils have players on their roster who can speak to that experience. And for a rookie like Henrique, it can only help playing alongside veteran winger Dainius Zubrus. After reaching the 1997 Stanley Cup Final as a rookie with the Flyers, Zubrus has waited 15 years to get back.

"That moment didn't last as long as I wanted and didn't end the way I hoped," Zubrus said of his first Cup Final appearance, in which the Flyers were swept by Detroit. "Fifteen years later, here I am back in the Finals. Obviously, you're lucky to be on a team that gets to this point. You just don't know. You could be traded or going to an organization that might be in a so-called rebuilding process. You just don't know."

It may be easy to take that first Cup Final appearance for granted, but young players can learn from a veteran who has been there before and may not have been sure when they would be back.

"When you're young and naïve, you think, 'We'll get there next year.' It doesn't work that way," said Warren Rychel, a rookie on Blake's 1993 Kings team. "I said to myself, 'Don't worry, we'll get back next year.' It never happens [that easily]. We didn't make the playoffs the year after."
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Posted On Thursday, 05.31.2012 / 12:40 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Tallon happy for DeBoer's success

TORONTO -- Even though his team lost to the New Jersey Devils in the first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon said he's very happy to see Peter DeBoer experiencing the level of success he's having now.

"Pete's a really good coach and a good person," Tallon told NHL.com from the NHL Scouting Combine. "I'm real happy for his success."

About a year ago, Tallon fired DeBoer as coach of the Panthers after one season of working together. It had been three seasons for DeBoer in Florida, and Tallon thought a change was needed. However, Tallon was quick to point out to NHL.com that it had nothing to do with the job DeBoer did.

"It had nothing to do with his coaching abilities," Tallon said from the NHL Scouting Combine. "Just a matter of bringing in someone that was more my style. Just wanted to make a change."

It certainly worked for both parties -- DeBoer was hired a couple of months later by the Devils and has them in the Stanley Cup Final, while DeBoer's replacement, Kevin Dineen, led the Panthers to the Southeast Division title.

As happy as Tallon is for his former coach, he said he's only rooting for a good series.

"I just want to see good hockey," he said. "I want to see a good series. I got friends on both sides.

"Just wish it was us."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Thursday, 05.31.2012 / 1:26 AM

By Brian Hunter -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Fayne: 'It's tough to deal with right now'

NEWARK, N.J. -- One point of emphasis for the New Jersey Devils heading into Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final will be generating more than the 18 shots they put on Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick in Wednesday's opener.

Quick stopped 17 of them in the Kings' 2-1 overtime win, but Devils defenseman Mark Fayne was still shaking his head about the puck he couldn't put on net, the one that would have tilted the score in the home team's favor midway through the third period.

Fayne pinched in deep and was rewarded when the rebound of a Ryan Carter shot bounced right onto his stick with Quick out of position and the right side of the net completely open. But the puck was bouncing and Fayne fired it wide.
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Posted On Thursday, 05.31.2012 / 1:14 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Kings get boost from fourth line

NEWARK, N.J. -- The fourth line of the New Jersey Devils earned plenty of plaudits for their work in the opening three rounds of the playoffs, particularly in the conference finals against the rival New York Rangers.

Los Angeles is also a team that uses all four lines regularly, but it has been the guys on their top three that have seen most of the spotlight in the Kings’ march through the Western Conference.

It was L.A.'s fourth line that had a big night in Game 1 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final.

“You know, they probably had one of the best games in the playoffs so far,” Kings center Anze Kopitar said. “And they had some really good ones before. Tonight they capped it off with a nice goal. Definitely got us going in the first period.

“Seems like we came out a little slower than we wanted to. The way they came out and established the forecheck, had some cycles in their zone, gave us a huge boost.”

Colin Fraser scored the first postseason goal of his NHL career midway through the first period. It was a perfect, fourth-line kind of goal. Jordan Nolan chipped an outlet pass into the New Jersey zone and raced after it. Andy Greene beat him to it, but Nolan hit Greene twice to help dislodge the puck and then turned to find Fraser cutting toward the net.

“He forced the turnover. He was the guy who did all the work,” Fraser said. “He got in on the d-man and turned the puck over and he just found me in the slot. I just tried to get it off as quick as I could. I wasn’t really aiming.”

Added captain Dustin Brown: “Our first goal is a direct result of our forecheck. We had a lot of chances off the forecheck and there was a couple that skipped over our stick, the puck was bouncing. On the flip side of that I think it's harder for those defensemen to make plays with the ice and puck bouncing like that. Our forecheck was good, it needs to get better.”

Fraser missed a couple of games earlier in the postseason because of a personal issue, but he, Nolan and Brad Richardson have been together on the fourth line when they were available since Dustin Penner was moved to the second unit at the onset of the St. Louis series.

Nolan has spent some time on the second line this season, but those three guys have found some chemistry during this postseason. They all played more than 11 minutes, and Nolan was credited with four hits.

“He’s a big body and he’s got lots of speed,” Fraser said of Nolan. “He gets in on the forecheck well. Even [Richardson] on the other side, he’s not as big but he’s got lots of speed. It is kind of nice as the centerman there. We seem to get on pucks first every time and I just try to stay at F3. I take care of the defense and they do the hard work in the corners.”
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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 Thursday, 05.31.2012 / 12:55 AM

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

Devils show some nerves in Game 1

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Devils had arguably their worst start to a game during the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday night.

Through 34 minutes, 30 seconds, they had just six shots on goal. They had a hard time getting out of their own zone, completing a pass was a monumental task and most players were treating the puck like a ticking time bomb instead of making the calm decisions that were a cornerstone to their forecheck and pressure through three rounds.

The Devils could've chalked it up to many reasons. They could have blamed the ice or credited the Los Angeles Kings with playing well, but instead owned up to their shakiness during the early stages of their 2-1 overtime loss in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at Prudential Center.

"We were excited to start, but I thought we were a little nervous in the first period in the way that we played," goaltender Martin Brodeur said. "I thought we settled in pretty good after that."

Wait, the Devils were nervous?

"It's the Stanley Cup Final," Brodeur said matter-of-factly. "It's not that easy to go out and perform. You have to wait to see what kind of atmosphere it's going to be. Whether it's five times for me or the first time, you get butterflies. It's an exciting time to be part of it. I'm sure the Kings will tell you the same thing. They were probably nervous at times also. It's what hockey's all about."

All but five Devils were playing in their first Final on Wednesday, and perhaps the pressure got to them early. The Devils had 11 giveaways to the Kings' six and while they overcame a 1-0 deficit to tie it late in the second period, they clearly weren't as sharp as they had been during the conference finals against the New York Rangers. >

Even Ilya Kovalchuk, who hasn't been this deep in the playoffs during his career, said his teammates' nerves were evident early.

I think it was probably the worst game in the playoffs for us," Kovalchuk said. "Maybe we were a little too nervous before the game starts. But it's no excuse. We got to make sure we know what we're doing right and get better."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo


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Posted On Wednesday, 05.30.2012 / 11:03 PM

NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Most overtime games in one playoff year

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final is heading to overtime for the first time since 2002, when the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 at Joe Louis Arena on a goal by Ron Francis at 0:58 of the first extra period.

Tonight marks the 24th overtime game of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the third-highest total for one playoff year. Road teams are 14-9 in overtime this postseason. The Kings are 2-0 (goal-scorers: Jarret Stoll, Dustin Penner), the Devils are 4-1 (goal-scorers: Adam Henrique-2, Travis Zajac, Alexei Ponikarovsky).
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Posted On Wednesday, 05.30.2012 / 1:46 PM

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

Gagne available, but still not in the lineup

NEWARK, N.J. -- Simon Gagne won't be in the Kings' lineup for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, but coach Darryl Sutter reiterated that the forward's chances of playing in the next two weeks are better than they had been in the past.

"I'm not answering that question again about Simon," said Sutter, who has been receiving the question pretty steadily since the end of conference finals. "Cleared for contact, cleared for practice, traveling with the team. So there won't be any further update on that one because, quite honestly, the answer is the same and I don't know how to answer it. You tell the truth or say nothing."

The honest Sutter will likely ice the same lineup that got the Kings to the Cup Final with a 12-2 mark and 8-0 road record. Here are the expected lineup combinations the Devils will face:

Justin Williams - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown
Dustin Penner - Mike Richards - Jeff Carter
Dwight King - Jarrett Stoll - Trevor Lewis
Jordan Nolan - Brad Richardson - Colin Fraser

Rob Scuderi - Drew Doughty
Willie Mitchell - Slava Voynov
Matt Greene - Alec Martinez

Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Bernier

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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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."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Wednesday, 05.30.2012 / 10:39 AM

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

Devils expected lineup for Game 1

NEWARK, N.J. -- Johan Hedberg was the eager one. The backup goalie was the first Devil on the ice for the morning skate Wednesday.

He came on at 10:09 a.m. ET, and soon enough his teammates joined him. It's an optional skate for New Jersey, but of the players expected to be in the lineup for Game 1 against the Kings (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS) only Marek Zidlicky is not skating.

The Devils expected scratches (Henrik Tallinder, Petr Sykora, Cam Janssen, Eric Boulton and Adam Larsson) skated on the practice rink with the Devils black aces.

Here is the expected lineup for the Devils:

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 Tuesday, 05.29.2012 / 6:33 PM

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

Kings edge Devils in Miss USA poll

With predictions coming from every angle on who will win the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, the Miss USA pageant saw a unique opportunity. On the eve of the Final, the organizers polled the 51 contestants in the 2012 edition of the contest to see who they favored to win the Cup.

Miss California, Natalie Pack, and Miss New Jersey, Michelle Leonardo, weren't shy about favoring their home-state teams, even posing for photos wearing their respective team's jersey.
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Posted On Tuesday, 05.29.2012 / 5:14 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Providence alum Fayne appreciates playing for Lou

NEWARK, N.J. -- Mark Fayne may have a finer appreciation for being drafted by New Jersey Devils CEO/president/general manager Lou Lamoriello than some of his teammates.

In four years playing at Providence College, the second-year defenseman was inundated with the Lamoriello legend. The man who has headed the Devils front office for over two decades was a fixture in Rhode Island and brought the Providence hockey program to its greatest heights.

Born and raised in the area, Lamoriello was a player and coach on the Providence hockey team and still holds the school record for coaching wins. After coaching a 1982-83 squad considered the best in school history, he stepped down to become the school's athletic director.

In 2009, Lamoriello earned the Vanguard Award for lifetime achievement at the annual Cox Rhode Island Sports Awards. A product of nearby Nashua, NH, Fayne appreciated Lamoriello's legacy long before arriving in New Jersey.

"Being at Providence, there is so much influence he still has there. Just seeing his name all over the rink,"  Fayne said. "The Hockey East [championship] trophy is the Lou Lamoriello Trophy, so that's what I was playing for for four years."

Fayne hasn't been alone in his appreciation for his boss. His former Providence teammate Matt Taormina has also broken in on the Devils defensive corp following four years playing with the Fryars.

"He was actually a partner of mine for two years," Fayne said. "It's really great."



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Posted On Tuesday, 05.29.2012 / 8:10 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Brodeur has no plans to retire

Don't plan the Martin Brodeur retirement ceremony just yet.

While many have speculated that this summer would be a perfect time for the 40-year-old goalie to retire -- especially if his New Jersey Devils defeat the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final, which begins in Newark with Game 1 on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS).

But, Brodeur doesn't necessarily subscribe to that train of thought, at least according to the comments he made after Monday's practice at the Prudential Center. It is a continuation of the storyline he has espoused since January and he says emotional Stanley Cup Playoffs wins against the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers and a unexpected berth in a fifth Stanley Cup Final have done nothing to change his mind.

"I can’t say no, but I doubt it," Brodeur said Monday when the idea of retiring if the Devils defeat the Kings in the Finals was broached. "I'm really enjoying this. Regardless of what happens in this series, I think we made a great step last year at the end of the year and through this year to have a really good team and a good coaching staff together and it’s fun. To me, it's all about having fun coming to the rink.

"I know a lot of people say it's great to retire on top, but at the end of the day, when I'm going to say it's over, it's over, I'm not going to come back. I want to make sure I make the right decision. Right now I'm leaning toward coming back. We'll see."

And, don't think that Brodeur is just being swayed by the magical run he and his team are on this spring. He began entertaining thoughts of playing beyond this year when his team rallied from an abysmal start in the 2010-11 season to almost make the playoffs in stunning fashion last year.

"The way I'm enjoying myself, we jelled as a team," Brodeur said. "Coming to the rink was fun, on the road was fun, that's what I was looking for. I didn't have fun last year. I'm not used to losing. That was tough. To me, I really thought this was going to be my last year, but more and more, it was I can still play."

Wednesday, in Game 1 of the Final, Brodeur will play in his 200th Stanley Cup Playoff game. Only Patrick Roy has played in more playoff games, registering 247 contests. Brodeur's counterpart from the Kings, Jonathan Quick, has played in just 27 postseason games.
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Posted On Monday, 05.28.2012 / 3:04 PM

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

Devils are healthy, ready to go

NEWARK, N.J. -- There isn't a team that gets this far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs that doesn't have players with nagging injuries, but the Devils are about as healthy as can be with the Final set to start Wednesday night at Prudential Center.

Of all the Devils on the ice for practice Monday, none were used as extra forwards or defensemen because they were recovering from injury. The team's "fifth line" of Petr Sykora, Cam Janssen and Eric Boulton could all play if necessary, while seventh and eighth blueliners Adam Larsson and Henrik Tallinder are also well enough to play.

Tallinder has been out since Jan. 17 due to a blood clot in his leg, but coach Peter DeBoer said that is no longer an issue.

"He's ready to go," DeBoer said. "I have no apprehension (using him). We can play anyone we have available right now."

According to DeBoer, everyone is available. That's something few teams have when the calendar creeps toward June, but it's also something the just-as-healthy Kings can boast as well.

"This is a war of attrition," DeBoer said. "To be as healthy as we are, to have the luxury of having eight healthy defensemen right now and entire forward group, that's something very few teams have. Unfortunately, L.A. has the same thing, so there's no advantage. It's a nice spot to be in."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Monday, 05.28.2012 / 12:29 PM

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

Devils make no lineup changes at first practice

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Devils had their first practice Monday since vanquishing the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday night, and Peter DeBoer didn't make any changes to his line combinations.

DeBoer shuffled his lines during the series-clinching Game 6 victory against the Rangers, and those were the lines on display at Amerihealth Pavilion. The "fifth line" featured Petr Sykora, Eric Boulton and Cam Janssen, all three of whom are likely to be healthy scratches during the Stanley Cup Final. The same can be said for defensemen Adam Larsson and Henrik Tallinder, at least to start the Final, who acted as the fourth d-pair.

Game 1 of the Final against the Los Angeles Kings is still two days away, but here is what the Devils went with Monday afternoon:

Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Dainius Zubrus
Ilya Kovalchuk - Adam Henrique - Alexei Ponikarovsky
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 Dave Lozo on Twitter: @Dave Lozo
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Posted On Saturday, 05.26.2012 / 6:55 PM

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

Mitchell has warm memories of New Jersey

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Willie Mitchell wonders what would have happened if Les Widdifield hadn't seen him play 16 years ago.

Widdifield was a longtime scout for the New Jersey Devils, and he spotted a young Mitchell playing in tiny Melfort, Sasakatchewan. Widdifield, who died last September, liked what he saw and told his bosses to give this Mitchell kid a long look.

"I still remember that phone call," said Mitchell, who was drafted 199th by New Jersey in 1996 and spent five seasons in the organization. "They took a flyer on me – eighth round, 199 in 1996 playing Tier 2 junior. Probably if they didn't do that, I would have never got the chance."
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Posted On Saturday, 05.26.2012 / 6:16 PM

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

Richards not surprised by DeBoer's success

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Of the many ties between the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils, one of the stronger ones is between Mike Richards and Peter DeBoer.

DeBoer coached Richards as coach of the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL for four years, from when Richards was 16 to 19. Richards served as captain on some of those teams, and the relationship helped produced a Memorial Cup in 2003 (New Jersey's David Clarkson was also on that team).
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Posted On Friday, 05.25.2012 / 4:42 PM

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

Gagne still hoping to return during Final

It’s easy to forget that Simon Gagne was one of the key acquisitions for the Los Angeles Kings in the summer. He was supposed to be reunited with former Philadelphia Flyers teammate Mike Richards, but his season effectively ended when he was concussed Dec.26.

Or has it ended?

Gagne got medical clearance earlier this month and is now available to play. It’s a long shot integrating Gagne back into the team, although coach Darryl Sutter sort of backed off his earlier stance that Gagne had no chance at playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
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Posted On Friday, 05.25.2012 / 4:39 PM

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

Brown moving past Doan incident

The handshake line episode after Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals seems to be taking on a life of its own.

Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan and teammate Martin Hanzal had words with Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown after Brown’s hit on Michal Rozsival just before the winning goal. Roszival was injured on the play and never returned.

Doan on Friday apologized for his actions, saying he was wrong to dismiss Brown when Brown tried to explain the play during the handshake.

Brown told NHL.com on Friday that “it’s one of those things that’s done and happened and I’m not really thinking about it Phoenix. I’m more focused on moving forward.”

Brown did say the apology was not surprising considering Doan is known as a class guy off the ice.

“I’ve known him a little bit,” Brown said. “I was taken aback a little bit but, hey, it’s an emotional game.”

Brown found himself talking about the hit on Rozsival again and said it was an unfortunate turn of events from the Coyotes’ perspective.

“I play the game hard, and I thought it was a clean hit, and that’s it,” Brown said. “We’re moving on. Again, it happened so quick for them, that I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt on the emotional level. It’s an emotional game out there.”
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Posted On Friday, 05.25.2012 / 3:12 PM

NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Kings are heavy on Cup Final experience

The Kings boast eight players who have been the Stanley Cup Final before with other teams and four have won the Cup.

Complete list:

Justin Williams (Hurricanes), Rob Scuderi (Penguins), Dustin Penner (Ducks), Colin Fraser (Blackhawks), Mike Richards (Flyers), Jeff Carter (Flyers), Jarret Stoll (Oilers) and Matt Greene (Oilers).

Stanley Cup winners:

Justin Williams (Hurricanes), Rob Scuderi (Penguins), Dustin Penner (Ducks), Colin Fraser (Blackhawks)
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Quote of the Day

I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie