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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 Thursday, 05.31.2012 / 12:25 AM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - Bracket Challenge Blog

Road teams continue to thrive in overtime

When it comes to winning in overtime during the Stanley Cup Final, it pays to wear the white sweaters.

Anze Kopitar
Center - LAK
GOALS: 7 | ASST: 9 | PTS: 16
SOG: 52 | +/-: 14
The Los Angeles Kings continued their own success away from home this spring as well as extending the success of visiting teams in the Stanley Cup Final by beating New Jersey 2-1 in OT on Wednesday in Game 1. Anze Kopitar's goal at 8:13 of overtime improved road teams' record in Final games that go past regulation to 6-1 since 2004 and 17-5 since 1990, when Edmonton's Petr Klima scored at 55:13 of extra time in Game 1 to win the longest game in Final history.

Overall, the visiting team has won 44 of the 74 Final games to go past regulation (not counting a pair of ties).
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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 / 10:23 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

LAK @ NJD - 3:58 of the Third period

At 3:58 of the third period in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, video review confirmed the referee's call on the ice that New Jersey's Zach Parise directed the puck into the Los Angeles net with his glove. No goal New Jersey. According to NHL Rule 67.6, "A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who bats or directs the puck with his hand into the net. A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who bats or directs the puck and it is deflected into the net off any player, goalkeeper or official. When the puck enters the net on a clear deflection off a glove, the goal shall be allowed."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.30.2012 / 7:07 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Senators’ Dorion feels quality of draft class is miscast

There has been some talk that the class of 2012 for the NHL Draft is not as strong as it’s been in other years.

Nonsense, says Ottawa Senators director of player personnel Pierre Dorion.

"I think it’s a good draft class,” Dorion told NHL.com on Wednesday at the NHL Scouting Combine. “At the top, like every draft, there are some good players. I think sometimes because there’s a better quality of defensemen than forwards, people tend to say that it’s not as good of a draft class because you don’t see the offensive production.”

Indeed, eight of the top 12 North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking are defensemen, while nine of the top 18 European skaters play on the blue line.
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Posted On Wednesday, 05.30.2012 / 5:27 PM

By Ryan Murray -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Ryan Murray draft blog

Everett's Ryan Murray set to impress at Combine

Defenseman Ryan Murray, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's list of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, served as captain of the Everett Silvertips in the Western Hockey League this season. The 6-foot, 182-pound native of Saskatchewan won a bronze medal playing for Team Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championship and was also the second-youngest player to ever appear for Canada at the Men's World Championships. Despite his busy schedule, Murray will submit two blogs for NHL.com during the 2012 NHL Scouting Combine this week in Toronto.

I finally arrived at the NHL Combine on Tuesday night and began the interviewing process on Wednesday. It's been quite a year. I just returned from the Men's World Championships in Finland and Sweden and that was a pretty incredible experience. Just going over there and being able to meet those top guys and playing with them was something very special.

One team gave me a personality-type test, wanting to get to know me a little better I guess. Other teams have done this with me before, but they either came to Everett or sent me the stuff in the email.

During the interviews, everybody has their scouts and guys in the rooms, and everyone has a little bit of a different tone or attitude toward the questions their asking. But everybody has been really nice. I've heard some horror stories in years' past about the Combine, but luckily nothing like that has happened to me.

I haven't received a whole lot of whacky questions. But one team did ask if they were wasting their time seeing me. I just said, 'I hope not.' I haven't prepared much for the bike tests scheduled Friday. I just got back from Europe last Friday and took a few days off this week. I was working out a little bit to keep in shape.

I hope to learn from this experience and having an opportunity to talk to the scouts is great. They all have their own opinions of you and what they thought about you during the year, so it's just good to hear some feedback regarding your play. The feedback has been good and the scouts have been kind. There have been questions about my family and what kind of player I feel I am.

I have never met [top prospect] Nail Yakupov [of Sarnia], but I'll probably meet him in New York when we go over there. I'll most likely get to see him here at the Combine as well.

When I learned that Edmonton won the draft lottery, it really didn't faze me too much. It really doesn't have much to do with me. I know [the Oilers] need a defenseman, but at the end of the day, anything can happen on draft day. I just take as a grain of sand, and not make a big deal about it. I don't have any expectations.

Well, that's it for now. Thanks for reading. I'll file one more blog after my fitness test on Friday.
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Posted On Wednesday, 05.30.2012 / 4:59 PM

By Matt Dumba -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Matt Dumba draft blog

Dumba: Best advice I got was to be myself

Matt Dumba is a defenseman for the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. The 5-foot-11.75, 183-pound defenseman was named WHL Rookie of the Year after scoring 15 goals and adding 11 assists in 62 games. He also had a tournament-high 12 points -- all assists -- to help Canada Pacific win the bronze medal at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. This summer, he played for Canada at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Tournament and also took part in the 2011 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp in August. Dumba has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Things have been going pretty well for me here at the Scouting Combine. All the interviews have been really solid. I've been happy with all of them.

I haven't gotten any silly or crazy questions. Everyone else seems to be getting them except for me. We'll see as the weekend progresses, but none yet.

It's been interesting all-round being here. It's different. You're passing guys in the hallway all the time, running to each interview. But it's all fun. I'm just having a good time with it and enjoying it.

That's pretty much what everyone I know who's been here before has said.

Alex Petrovic, he told me go and enjoy it and don't get caught up in anything. Just stay level-headed no matter what the interview goes like. Jeff Glass, he trains at my gym, and he's been through it all as well -- been to World Juniors, been drafted in the third round. He's a great guy. He just told me be myself and have fun with that. Don't be shy, be honest with all the teams and that's what I've been doing.

I have six more interviews tomorrow, and then the fitness testing is Friday. I'm still eating properly and drinking a lot, staying hydrated for that. I'm looking forward to it. Shouldn't be all that bad. I'm ready for it.

Everyone talks about the bike tests, but I've done them before at my gym. I'm not too concerned.
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Posted On Wednesday, 05.30.2012 / 3:19 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Reinhart will opt out of bench press at Combine

A nagging shoulder injury will likely keep Edmonton Oil Kings defenseman Griffin Reinhart from taking part in the bench press during his fitness portion of the NHL Scouting Combine schedule on Friday.

Reinhart, ranked No. 10 by NHL Central Scouting among draft-eligible North American skaters, on Wednesday was making his rounds to those teams that scheduled interviews with him over the next two days.

"I don't think I'm going to do the bench press because I have a bit of a hurt shoulder," Reinhart told NHL.com. "It's fine to play with … I just haven't been able to rehab it yet. It's something I've been dealing with all season."

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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 / 1:37 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Mahoney: Caps will take best player available

TORONTO -- For the fifth time in the last nine drafts, the Washington Capitals will have multiple first-round picks when the teams convene in Pittsburgh for the 2012 NHL Draft.

They have the Colorado Avalanche's choice at No. 11, and their own pick at No. 16, and Capitals director of amateur scouting Ross Mahoney told NHL.com that those are pretty nice places to be.

"We think we're in a good position at 11 and 16, if we maintain those picks, to pick up some good prospects," he said.

Mahoney said the GM George McPhee will listen to all options, as he does every year, and said moving up or down certainly could be an option.
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Quote of the Day

It's pretty crazy, but believe me when I say we didn't draft these players with the mindset we had to because they had good hockey-playing dads. It just turned out that way. But we're certainly glad they're a part of our organization.

— Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt regarding the coincidence that six of the organization's top prospects are sons of former NHL players