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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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Posted On Thursday, 06.07.2012 / 8:57 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Kings not worried about going on the road again

They'd rather have spent Thursday celebrating the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. But the Los Angeles Kings weren't wasting any time Thursday wondering what might have been.

The Kings missed a chance to wrap up the first Stanley Cup in franchise history when they lost 3-1 to the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. Instead of celebrating, the Kings spent the day flying -- to Newark for Game 5 on Saturday night (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

But with a 10-0 record in road games during this spring's playoffs, the Kings were anything but worried about having to make another trip to Prudential Center.

"We just don't let any distractions bother us. We go in, we play our game," forward Justin Williams said before the Kings' flight to Newark on Thursday. "We know the Prudential Center's going to be rocking, just like when we had to go back to Phoenix and play Game 5, go back to Vancouver and play Game 5. The arena's are going to be rocking, and we'll have to be ready for them."

The Kings are just 1-3 in Game 4s this spring, losing three times at home when they've had the chance to complete a series sweep. But they're perfect so far in Game 5s -- L.A. has completed series victories with wins at Vancouver in the opening round and at Phoenix in the Western Conference Finals.

"We feel comfortable on the road," Kings center Anze Kopitar said. "It's unfortunate we couldn't close it last night. But we'll try to do it on Saturday."

Not that it will be easy.

"Elimination games -- I don't know, the teams you play against are there for a reason," forwards Trevor Lewis said. It's not supposed to be a sweep all the time. You're not supposed to win every game.

"We know the fourth game is going to be the hardest," Lewis added. "It's the Stanley Cup Final here. It's pretty tough to sweep. We've got to make sure we're prepared and get ready for Game 5."

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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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