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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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Quote of the Day

Your team is going to want to recapture the feeling. What they're going to have to figure out is they're going to have to rewrite the story. Because you're going to rewrite the story doesn't mean you want a different end. It's just that you're going to have to learn that there's different challenges to get there, and if you're going to try and tap the same feeling, it ain't going to happen.

— Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi on maintaining their success from last season