Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Sunday, 06.10.2012 / 9:22 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - 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 - Staff Writer / - 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 / 8:33 PM

By Colin Fraser -  Special to / - 2012 Stanley Cup Final player blogs

Fraser: Despite Game 5 setback, we still believe

Saturday night was obviously not the result that we wanted. You want to close them out as quickly as you can, but that being said there is a fine line between winning and losing in this series.

We felt good about our start, and felt really good about the whole first period. We found ourselves down one goal, though. If you look at Games 1 and 2, they could have gone either way. Now the same can be said for Games 4 and 5. There is a fine line, and we've got to find a way to get back above it again.

During the first intermission we talked about staying positive and that it was a good period, but we obviously weren't where we wanted to be. You try to reinforce doing some of the same stuff and sticking with the program for 60 minutes -- the system and everything.

We've made it this far for a reason. We're a good hockey team, and we have to stick with what works and not get out of our comfort zone. That said, they are a good defensive team with a good goalie. It is hard to generate chances against them.
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Posted On Sunday, 06.10.2012 / 6:29 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst / - Melrose Minute

Melrose: Can the Devils do it?

When the Kings took a 3-0 lead, this series looked like it was over. When the Devils won Game 4 to make it 3-1, it looked like they had saved some face but the Kings were still due for a date with the Cup. Now that the Devils have won two games in a row (something no one else has done against the Kings this postseason), however, we have a Game 6 Monday night in L.A.

If New Jersey wins that one, suddenly we've got a winner-take-all Game 7 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final Wednesday night. All of this begs one simple question.

Can the Devils actually do this?

The first three games of the Stanley Cup Final this year just seemed like more of the same for L.A.'s postseason. Whenever the Kings have needed a big goal or a big save or a big penalty kill, they always got it. In Games 4 and 5, however, it's started to roll the other way. Now the Devils are starting to get the breaks and one has to wonder if they're starting to feel what the Kings felt at the start of the series.
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Posted On Sunday, 06.10.2012 / 1:20 AM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - 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 - Staff Writer / - 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 - Staff Writer / - 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 / 11:56 PM

By John Kreiser - Columnist / - Bracket Challenge Blog

Kings impressive road win streak snapped

Because the longest road winning streak in Stanley Cup history is over, the Los Angeles Kings will have to try again on Monday to win their first championship.

The Kings brought a 10-0 record on the road this spring and a 12-0 mark during the past two seasons into the Prudential Center on Saturday night. They left with both streaks ended after a 2-1 loss that cut their lead in the series to 3-2 and sent everyone heading back to the West  Coast for Game 6 on Monday night (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

The Kings didn't make history because they couldn't defy it -- none of the three teams that won the first three games of the Final and lost Game 4 at home have won Game 5. That scenario hadn't happened since 1945, when Toronto won the first three games only to lose Games 4, 5 -- and 6 -- before winning Game 7 on the road. In the other, Detroit won the first three games in 1942, only to see the Leafs win the next four.
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Posted On Saturday, 06.09.2012 / 6:04 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - 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 - Staff Writer / - 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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