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Posted On Thursday, 06.07.2012 / 1:32 AM

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

Sykora gives Devils a lift

LOS ANGELES -- Devils coach Peter DeBoer inserted Petr Sykora into the lineup for Game 4 because he was searching for offense after getting shut out in Game 3 and getting held to one goal apiece in Games 1 and 2. Sykora didn't factor into any of New Jersey's three goals, but he was on the ice for Patrik Elias' goal in the third period.

It was one of many solid shifts by the Devils' reunited second line of Sykora, Elias and Dainius Zubrus -- a trio that combined for a goal, an assist and five shots on goal in the 3-1 win.

"I thought he had a very good game, a very good game," Zubrus said of Sykora. "We played together for most of the game. I thought he was good. He stepped in and played good minutes and did everything the coach was asking for. He jumped in right in there and I thought as a line we had some good chances and puck possession. I thought he had some good looks and good chances. I thought he was good."

Sykora, who hadn't played since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Rangers, was pleased with his game as well. He said the key was just keeping it simple and getting a feel for the puck early.

"It's always good when on the first shift you get the puck twice and make a play," said Sykora, who played 18 shifts totaling 12:19 of ice time. "I was pretty happy about that."

Henrik Tallinder, the other Devil to return to the lineup Wednesday night, told NHL.com following the game that he "feels really good, excellent."

Tallinder hadn't played since developing a blood clot in his leg in mid-January. He played 29 shifts totaling 19:21 and had two shots on goal, a hit and a blocked shot.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Thursday, 06.07.2012 / 1:25 AM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Kings don't get the bounces in Game 4

LOS ANGELESSimon Gagne went from not playing in an NHL game in five months to having a potential Stanley Cup-game-winning goal on his stick.

In the second period of a scoreless Game 4, Gagne broke in for a partial breakaway on Martin Brodeur. As the building collectively held its breath, Brodeur made a left pad save and the New Jersey Devils emerged untouched.

"I would have liked to try another chance like that," Gagne said. "On this play, I tried something on the glove side and he made a big pad save. He played well tonight. He was really in it. We knew that he was going to be one of the best goaltenders [we've faced]."

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Posted On Thursday, 06.07.2012 / 12:52 AM

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

Devils bounce back after power-play goal

LOS ANGELES -- It took 249 minutes, 51 seconds of the Stanley Cup Final for the New Jersey Devils to play with the lead; it took 62 seconds for them to relinquish it.

In winning the first three games of the series, the Los Angeles Kings never trailed. That was the case through the first two periods of Game 4 on Wednesday night at Staples Center, but the Devils' Patrik Elias banged home a rebound at 7:56 of the third period to put his team ahead 1-0.

Shortly after the watershed moment, Kings defenseman Drew Doughty ripped a one-timer from the blue line during a power play that made it 1-1. L.A. cashed in just four seconds after David Clarkson was sent to the penalty box for boarding Dustin Brown.

But instead of folding, the Devils regrouped.

"That's a crossroads, that's a turning point," coach Peter DeBoer said. "The fact we pushed right back was critical."

Adam Henrique scored the winner less than seven minutes later to help give the Devils a 3-1 victory. Game 5 will take place at Prudential Center in Newark on Saturday night (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

Doughty's goal was especially tough to swallow for the Devils, who weren't happy with the call against Clarkson.

"Coaches and players didn't feel there was a penalty," Clarkson said. "They were letting me know right away. That's the type of guys we have on this team, the leadership we have. It was tough when it gets called like that. But you know what -- we found a way to get the win. That's big going home now."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.06.2012 / 11:45 PM

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

Once again, Kings can't close the deal

The Los Angeles Kings have done almost nothing wrong this spring. Their only failing continues to be an inability to complete sweeps.

The Kings are the first team ever to go up 3-0 in all four series in a single playoff year, and they're also the only one to miss out on three chances to sweep in the same spring -- all at home. L.A. lost Game 4 to Vancouver in the opening round, did it again against Phoenix in the Western Conference Finals -- and dropped Game 4 for a third time on Wednesday when they allowed three third-period goals in a 3-1 loss to New Jersey that sent the Stanley Cup Final to a Game 5 in Newark on Saturday night (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

Los Angeles was the 26th team to take a 3-0 lead in the Final -- and just the sixth that failed to complete the sweep. The last one was the 1981 New York Islanders, who lost Game 4 to the North Stars in Minnesota before winning Game 5 at home. Before that, you have to go back to 1957, when Boston won Game 4 in overtime at home against Montreal, which won the Cup at the Forum in Game 5.

The last eight teams that had the chance to complete a sweep in the Final had done so, until Wednesday.
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Posted On Wednesday, 06.06.2012 / 2:42 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Gagne will remain in Kings lineup for Game 4

LOS ANGELES -- Simon Gagne will have more than a one-off cameo in the Stanley Cup Final.

Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter indicated that Gagne would be back in for Game 4 on Wednesday. Sutter inserted him in Game 3 in Gagne's first game since a Dec. 26 concussion.

Gagne saw 6:39 of ice time and took a slashing penalty.

"Hopefully he’s better tonight," Sutter said.

Gagne said it was somewhat of an eye-opener to be thrust into a Final game after five months off. He feels more comfortable for the second go-around.

"I watched the tape. I watched what I did," Gagne said. "It was good to get back on the ice. I kind of had this feeling what the speed was, but until you play you don't know. It was good to get on it and know how much the game is so intense and so fast. Going there now, I know what to expect and watching the tape of all my shifts, I could change a couple of things. Now I definitely want to take it to the next level tonight."

It is a victory for Gagne just to get back on the ice. He has a history of concussions, and if the Kings didn't make it this far he would have had to wait another six months to play in an NHL game.

"My goal is just to get back to healthy and be 100 percent," Gagne said. "Until you play a game, until you take the time to heal 100 percent, you don't know. That's what's great about this season. This team went far this year to help me, to know that right away instead of waiting in September or October when the season is going to start. For me, with all my past and all the injury I had, it was great to know right away that everything's good. I felt really good. It's been a while since I was feeling good."

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.06.2012 / 2:25 PM

By Jeremy Roenick -  NHL Network Contributor /NHL.com - World According to JR

JR: Devils still have hope, but Kings in full control

LOS ANGELES -- Jeremy Roenick has a great appreciation for the position that the New Jersey Devils find themselves in in this Stanley Cup Final.

It was 20 years ago that Roenick and the Chicago Blackhawks were down 3-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final. They did not win Game 4.

"There is always hope," Roenick, an analyst with the NBC Sports Network, told NHL.com, "but it's the slimmest of hope."

The Devils will try to do what the 1992 Blackhawks could not on Wednesday. They just want to win Game 4 at Staples Center to stay alive.

Can they do it? Let Roenick tell you what he thinks.

NHL.com: Can the Devils do this?

JR: Only three teams have ever come back from a 3-0 deficit. Only once has it happened in the Final, and that was in 1942. They have that going against them. Secondly, they have a team that is just firing on all cylinders right now. Nothing is swaying the Kings right now. They have a goaltender that is setting a new standard of goaltending in the playoffs. All in all it does not look good, but for the Devils they have to try to make history and I think that's gotta be the mentality. They have to be the guys that try to change the record books. They have to first put a chink in the armor. Keep working and try to put any kind of doubt into the minds of the Los Angeles Kings.

STANLEY CUP FINAL - KINGS VS. DEVILS

Sutter family excited for Darryl's success

By Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer
The Sutter family, which placed six brothers in the NHL, is watching and waiting to see if Darryl and the Kings can bring home a title. READ MORE ›

NHL.com: If the Devils are able to simply get a lead in Game 4, something they could not do in Games 1, 2 and 3, is that enough to put the seed of doubt in to the Kings?

JR: No, it doesn't, because the Kings have been down before in games. But if the Devils get up a couple with the way Marty Brodeur has played, I think they have a chance of stealing one. The problem is who is going to score? Who is going to score the goals? I think Ilya Kovalchuk's back is really bothering him. They're shutting down Zach Parise. Travis Zajac and Dainius Zubrus have disappeared, as has Patrik Elias. They are working hard, but they are not getting any quality scoring chances. You talk about going up a couple of goals, but the question is who is going to do it. There is not one guy right now that you can look at in that room and say, oh, he'll score for us tonight. That's not a very confident feeling.

NHL.com: The Devils are making lineup changes, bringing in Henrik Tallinder and Petr Sykora for Peter Harrold and Jacob Josefson. Is change good for this team now?

JR: Yeah, absolutely. These guys have been sitting out, and this is their opportunity to become heroes. Sykora has been there. He's won a Cup. That's experience; you can't teach that. Tallinder is a big strong defenseman. So, you need them to switch it up a bit, make a change, give the guys something to rally around. Maybe it's Sykora coming in and scoring a big goal like he did against Philadelphia.

NHL.com: Put yourself in the Kings dressing room right now, what are you thinking?

JR: I think this is the opportunity to put a stamp on one of the best postseason runs in the history of the game. I would not only want to win a championship, I would want to create history. It would tie the 1988 Edmonton team for the best run ever (16-2), but they can eclipse the best goals-against average. You do not want to give the New Jersey Devils any life in order to go back to Jersey and have a chance to play one more game and have a chance to get within one. You want to finish it right away. That fourth game is the hardest to win. They have to say, 'We're in our own building, we want to finish this now,' and celebrate a Cup with their own fans. That becomes really important when you're trying to win the Cup. They will never have a better opportunity in their lives than right now.

NHL.com: Now that they are one win away, is the history angle something the Kings think about?

JR: No, they don't think about it. All they have to do is think about one period at a time and continue to play the solid game that they have, and they will create it. When you don't think about the big picture, just the smaller picture, that's when you get so much greatness. I think these guys have taken it one game at a time, one period at a time, and in that preparation of not looking too far ahead they have found themselves on the brink of having one of the best postseasons in the history of the game. I think each guy will be two steps faster because of the opportunity they have in front of them.

NHL.com: Will the Kings win it tonight, and who wins the Conn Smythe?

JR: I think the Kings win it 3-1, and I think Jonathan Quick will be the Conn Smythe Trophy winner. Anze Kopitar is right there with him, but Quick has allowed 24 goals in 17 playoff games and that goals-against average (1.36) is unheard of and the save percentage (.950) is off the charts. He's the guy that got them to the playoffs. He's allowed them to roll through the playoffs. It's been every single night with Quick. Kopitar has been good, but Quick has been the main guy every single night.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.06.2012 / 2:02 PM

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

Parise gets some fatherly advice

MARINA DEL REY, Calif. -- While staring deep into an 0-3 hole in the Stanley Cup Final, Zach Parise has turned to the one person he trusts to tell him it's not an impossible climb to get back in the series.

J.P. Parise, Zach's father, played for the Islanders when they came back from down 0-3 twice in the 1975 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Islanders beat the Penguins after losing the first three games, but lost in Game 7 to Philadelphia in the next round after losing the first three games.

"He said him and Chico [Resch] are living proof that it can happen," Parise said Wednesday morning. "They did it twice in the one season. Obviously, they won the one and lost the other one. He said with Team Canada [with the 1972 Summit Series], they went into Russia, had to win three games, won three games there. He said it can happen. He said things like this can happen.

"He just said, 'Start with the one tonight and then see what happens.'"

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.06.2012 / 11:22 AM

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

Sykora in, Tallinder makes playoff debut for Devils

MARINA DEL REY, Calif. -- Devils coach Peter DeBoer on Wednesday morning confirmed two changes to the lineup for Game 4. Henrik Tallinder and Petr Sykora both will play as the Devils try to avoid getting swept by the Kings in the Stanley Cup Final.

Peter Harrold and Jacob Josefson will come out of the lineup to make room for Tallinder and Sykora.

"Excitement," Tallinder said when asked what he is feeling. "I haven't been playing for a while, so I'm pretty excited to come back and to just be able to play again."

Tallinder, who has been out of the lineup with a blood clot, hasn't played since Jan. 17. He has been practicing with the team for a few weeks and said earlier in the series that he is healthy and ready to go.

"In my situation it was a little different because of the blood clot," Tallinder said. "You have to be really sure that everything was resolved in the leg. It was."

DeBoer said he considered going to Tallinder after Game 2, but didn't want to change the lineup because he liked the way the team played in that 2-1 overtime loss.

The Devils lost 4-0 in Game 3, and DeBoer said Tallinder had a good practice and looked "up to game speed" Tuesday.

"Yesterday in practice we had a conversation and he (DeBoer) said I wasn't in," Tallinder said. "Last night I got the call. It was kind of weird, but I am happy."

Tallinder will be jumping into a difficult spot in a potential elimination game.

"I feel pretty comfortable in practice, but it's practice," Tallinder said. "Stanley Cup Final, how do you prepare for that? Excitement. A lot of jump in your legs. And try not to think too much."

"He has been missed in our lineup," Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador said. "It's nice to see him overcome what he had. It's nice that he's back and recovered."

Sykora is going into the lineup as a scoring option; New Jersey has just two goals in the series.

He hasn't played since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Rangers.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.05.2012 / 7:48 PM

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

Fraser: Trade to L.A. has worked out well

I joined the Los Angeles Kings in a trade from Edmonton last summer, but it wasn't your typical NHL deal. The Kings traded Ryan Smyth to Edmonton for Gilbert Brule first, but when that deal didn't work out, I was traded to the Kings for Smyth.

Brule and I weren't real close, but we were certainly buddies, teammates. We played together. I didn't know what was going to happen, because I had a tough season. Nobody ever told me that it was going to happen and I didn't ask for a trade, but I thought it was a possibility because the tough season I had on a personal level.

Once I saw that Brule was traded, I didn't think it was going to happen. I got a call right after [the Brule trade was not allowed]. I was at Andrew Ladd's place in Summerland, B.C., enjoying some sun and hanging out with the guys, and I got a call from [Edmonton GM] Steve Tambellini pretty early in the morning saying that they had traded me to Los Angeles. It was the day after the Draft, and I thought it was kind of weird because I hadn't even heard that the trade with Gilbert was reversed.
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Posted On Tuesday, 06.05.2012 / 4:50 PM

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

Sykora appears set to return to Devils lineup

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- It took three straight losses, but Devils coach Peter DeBoer appears to be ready to tweak his lineup during the Stanley Cup Final.

Forward Petr Sykora will apparently return to the lineup for Game 4 on Wednesday night and replace Jacob Josefson, who snagged Sykora's spot in the lineup after Game 2 of the conference finals against the Rangers.

Sykora skated at practice Tuesday afternoon on a line with Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus while Josefson was skating with Cam Janssen and Eric Boulton as part of the extra fifth line. DeBoer wouldn't say for certain Sykora is back, but he said he's considering the switch.

"He's an option for us," DeBoer said. "We're going to consider him. We haven't scored and he's a guy who doesn't need a lot of looks to stick one in the net."

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I don't know how he does it. I don't know how he gets his body parallel with the player and pulls it through his legs like that. I know he's tried it a couple times in practice and it's never worked, so how he does it in a game, it's incredible.

— Capitals defenseman Mike Green on teammate Alex Ovechkin's highlight-reel goal against the Devils on Saturday