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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 / 3:27 PM

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

Fraser: Practice, extra travel day have Kings ready

We've been staying in a hotel downtown for home games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Ritz across the street from the arena. We treat it kind of like a road game. We've been pretty successful on the road during the season and then during the playoffs.

It kind of gives us that road mentality -- there are no distractions, we watch video together to prepare and just get ready for the game. Walking over to the rink isn't as crazy as you'd think as far as people hounding you for autographs or things like that. The fans have kind of just let us be.

There was a huge buzz around the arena before Game 4. There were people everywhere, and the excitement was building. You could see it walking over, and it was obviously in the back of our minds what we could accomplish that night. You have to forget about it best you can and put those distractions aside so you can get ready to play a game.

Stanley Cup Final Perspectives


Los Angeles Kings forward Colin Fraser is playing in his second Stanley Cup Final. Fraser, who won the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, is providing NHL.com with a player's perspective on the battle for hockey's Holy Grail.

In his fifth entry, Fraser writes about the opportunity ahead for the Kings as their Stanley Cup Final series shifts back to New Jersey.


OTHER PERSPECTIVES:

I've had the chance to play with Simon Gagne the past two games after he came back from an injury. He's played a lot of years in the League and, even more importantly, a lot of playoff games. For a guy like me to get to play with him, it is like an honor to play with a guy of that status.

The numbers he's put up and the years he's played, he's obviously an elite player. He's been playing a fourth-line role since he came back, and he's OK with that because he wants to play any way he can. It is very exciting for me to get to play with a guy like that.

It was definitely in the back of our minds what was at stake, but you've got a job to do. Really, Game 4 was so similar to Games 1 and 2. It was such a close game and such a tight game that it really could have gone either way.

Both teams had surges in different parts of the game, but we came up a little bit short. We just have to regroup and be ready to play our best game in Game 5.

When I played with Chicago, we won the Stanley Cup on the road in Philadelphia in 2010. Obviously everyone wants to win the Cup at home. That is the best-case scenario, to do it in front of your fans and your city, but the reality is that doesn't always happen.

To win it anywhere it is just as satisfying. It is definitely a lot quieter in the building, but nobody cares where it happened once it does -- everyone is just so happy that we got it done.

We flew from L.A. to Newark on Thursday. The last time we were here we had more time, but I don't think there will be any difference in getting used to the time change. We're used to it from the last time, and New Jersey is obviously in the same boat. They had to come all this way as well. Having the extra day to get accustomed to the time change and get a good practice in today will help us get ready for the game Saturday.

For me, the biggest thing is just trying to get on the new time zone right away. I don't go to bed really early, but I try to go to bed a decent time and get up at a decent time in the time zone you're in versus going to bed later and waking up later. A lot of that depends on how good of a sleeper you are, and for me I don't have too many problems with it. I get accustomed right away.

I think Game 5 is going to be a tight, tight game again for sure. New Jersey has their backs against the wall, and they are desperate. They're going to play their best game. They have to.

I think Game 4 was so similar to 1 and 2, but they had their chances, too. I think we have to approach Game 5 more like we have our backs to the wall, and have that desperate mentality to win a hockey game.

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Posted On Friday, 06.08.2012 / 3:20 PM

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

Despite struggles, Devils have faith in power play

NEWARK, N.J. -- At the start of the Stanley Cup Final, it was the Kings' power play that couldn't get anything done. It was 6-for-75, and 3-for-63 dating to Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Vancouver Canucks.

Through four games of the Final, it's the Devils who can't convert with the man-advantage.

The Kings have three power-play goals during the past two games, while New Jersey is 0-for-15 in the series. The Devils went 0-for-6 in Game 3 and failed to convert during a one-minute 5-on-3 power play during the first period.

The Devils went 0-for-3 in Game 4, but had six shots on net, something that's encouraging to coach Peter DeBoer.

"We had some good looks on the power play," DeBoer said. "I know the numbers don't speak well. I know when you're zero-for-whatever, everyone's calling for change, why don't you do this, why don't you do that. The one thing about our team is we believe in what we're doing.

"Most nights, it's about execution. I feel we've gotten good looks on the power play throughout the series. It's looked bad at points, credit to L.A., I think it's also looked real good, and we've gotten quality chances in other series, and prior series, we've stuck it in the net. We're going to stick with it. We're not a team that throws things out because they're not working."

The Devils spent time at the end of practice Friday working on their power play, but David Clarkson said it had nothing to do with the team's inability to finish in this series.

"We're doing a lot of the same things -- cycling the puck, winning battles, getting to the front of the net," Clarkson said. "It was more just an everyday practice where we're trying to create traffic and trying to find ways to get to the net. I think everything will fall into place."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Friday, 06.08.2012 / 2:48 PM

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

Tallinder draws rave reviews for first game back

NEWARK, N.J. -- Henrik Tallinder felt a wide range of emotions during his first game in almost five months.

"It's a lot of words: Excitement, nervous, happy," Tallinder said. "I mean, there were so many emotions out there. I just enjoyed it. It was so much fun."

The 33-year-old defenseman made his return in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final after dealing with a blood clot in his left leg during the regular season and most of the playoffs. Tallinder took special precautions for the six-hour flight to Los Angeles but was left out of the lineup for Game 3.

Tallinder had 19:21 of ice time on 29 shifts and had two shots on net in Game 4 as the Devils fended off elimination by winning 3-1 to force Game 5 on Saturday night at Prudential Center. He delivered one hit and blocked one shot, and earned rave reviews from coach Peter DeBoer.

"I thought he was outstanding," DeBoer said. "Big boost for us."

It was a boost, however, that nearly didn't happen.

Following practice Tuesday in Los Angeles, DeBoer told Tallinder that he would not be in the lineup for Game 4 and Peter Harrold would remain paired with Anton Volchenkov. Whatever it was that Tallinder said during the conversation, it caused DeBoer to rethink his strategy later that day.

"Really where I had a change of heart was just in his reaction," DeBoer said. "It wasn't negative. He was just adamant that he was ready, really thought he could help. When a player puts his neck on the line like that, I get a real comfort level knowing he was a veteran guy and knowing how good he was at the top of his game for us as a top-two guy, that he could help us.

"It was a little bit of a risk, but he basically talked me into that."

Fellow defenseman Bryce Salvador was impressed with how Tallinder acclimated himself so quickly in the toughest of situations.

"Being out that long, coming back into a do-or-die game in a hostile environment, I think he did unbelievable," Salvador said. "It shows the poise he has to step right in. He was on the puck, making plays, carrying the puck like he hadn't missed a game. It was a positive thing for us. It's nice to have him back."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Friday, 06.08.2012 / 1:38 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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