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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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