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Posted On Tuesday, 06.12.2012 / 10:15 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to 2012 NHL Draft

Order of first round of 2012 NHL Draft set

With the Stanley Cup Final settled, it's time to take a look at how the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft will look.

The first 14 picks were set by the results of the NHL Draft Lottery held in April. The 12 teams eliminated in the first two rounds of the playoffs come next. Non-division winners are placed in inverse order of points, followed by division winners through the same process. That's why the Pittsburgh Penguins, who had the fourth-most points in the League, have a better draft spot than the Florida Panthers, finished with nine fewer points but won the Southeast Division.

The next two spots go to the losing teams in the conference finals, again in inverse order of regular-season points, meaning Phoenix will pick 27th and the Rangers 28th. New Jersey, which lost in Game 6 of the Cup Final, will pick No. 29, while the Cup champion Kings will take No. 30.

Three teams have multiple first-round picks: Tampa Bay will pick 10th and 19th; Washington has the Nos. 11 and 16 picks; and Buffalo will pick 12th and 21st.

Columbus also could have two first-round picks. They currently have the No. 2 pick and hold an option to take Los Angeles' pick. The Blue Jackets acquired the rights to the pick in the Jeff Carter trade, and can take the Kings' first pick this year or next, or trade the option.

Three teams currently will sit out the first round: Colorado, which sent it's pick to Washington in the Semyon Varlamov deal; Detroit, which traded it's pick to Tampa Bay as part of the Kyle Quincey trade; and Nashville, which dealt its pick to Buffalo in exchange for Paul Gaustad.

The New Jersey Devils will hold onto the 29th pick. They had the option of forfeiting the pick as part of the NHL-imposed penalty for circumventing the salary cap to sign Ilya Kovalchuk in 2010. They now must surrender their first-round pick in 2013 or 2014

1. Edmonton

2. Columbus

3. Montreal

4. N.Y. Islanders

5. Toronto

6. Anaheim

7. Minnesota

8. Carolina

9. Winnipeg

10. Tampa Bay

11. Washington (from Colorado)

12. Buffalo

13. Dallas

14. Calgary

15. Ottawa

16. Washington

17. San Jose

18. Chicago

19. Tampa Bay (from Detroit)

20. Philadelphia

21. Buffalo (from Nashville)

22. Pittsburgh

23. Florida

24. Boston

25. St. Louis

26. Vancouver

27. Phoenix

28. N.Y. Rangers

29. New Jersey

30. Los Angeles

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.12.2012 / 2:03 AM

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

Kings were aiming for Brodeur's blocker side

LOS ANGELES -- If it seemed like the Los Angeles Kings were targeting the blocker side of Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur during the Stanley Cup Final, it's because they were.

Of the 15 goals allowed by Brodeur, eight beat him to his stick side and many of them were significant.

In Game 1, Anze Kopitar beat Brodeur on a breakaway in overtime by going to the stick side. In Game 2, both Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter scored the Kings' lone goals in that direction. They scored seven goals in total during the first five games of the series, and it wasn't an accident.

"Yeah, that was part of it," Kings forward Dustin Penner told NHL.com. "Low blocker from far out, and from in tight you want to go high glove."

Kings forward Justin Williams beat Brodeur twice to the blocker side and said it was part of an evolving strategy against the future Hall-of-Famer.

"I think we overanalyzed it a little bit," Williams said. "We tried shooting low to start and he made a bunch of saves, and there's no trick to scoring on any goalie -- shots, screens, tips, rebounds. We drove the net hard."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.12.2012 / 1:46 AM

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

Devils disappointed, but proud

LOS ANGELES -- As any locker room would be after coming so close to the ultimate prize, the Devils were downtrodden and frustrated after their 6-1 loss to the Kings in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.

After falling into a 3-0 series hole, the Devils fought back to do what no team had done to the Kings throughout the postseason -- beat them twice in a series. It turned out that early hole was too much to overcome, but looking at the big picture, the Devils saw a silver lining in their season.

"We have to be really proud of what we accomplished," Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur said. "Not just in this series, but in the whole playoffs, the whole year. We took down two of our biggest rivals, with the Flyers and Rangers. We made this a series after losing the first three games. It's definitely disappointing not to go all the way, but it's definitely a great season for the Devils.

"The boys played really hard and worked really hard and adjusted ourselves as good as anybody. We came a long way from not making the playoffs last year to challenging for a Stanley Cup. It's disappointing, but I'm really proud of what we accomplished as a group."

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.12.2012 / 1:40 AM

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

Kings wrap up a spring to remember

It took the Los Angeles Kings 45 years to win their first Stanley Cup. But when they did, they won with a flourish.

The Kings completed their run to the Stanley Cup on Monday night by routing New Jersey 6-1 in Game 6 of the Final, capping a postseason in which they went 16-4. That leaves L.A. in a four-way tie for the fewest games needed to win the Cup since 1987, when the NHL adopted a best-of-seven format for all rounds of the playoffs.

The 1988 Edmonton Oilers won in 18 games (16-2), the fewest any team has needed to win the Cup in the last 25 years. The Kings are tied with the 1993 Montreal Canadiens, the 1995 New Jersey Devils and 1997 Detroit Red Wings for second place -- all won in 20 games.

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.12.2012 / 1:03 AM

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

Fraser: 'We didn't think we were an eight seed'

It is kind of surreal. It is kind of crazy. It hasn't really sunk in yet. It is something special. Those were some of my first thoughts after realizing that we won the Stanley Cup.

I was fortunate enough to win the Stanley Cup once before with Chicago, but I didn't play in the Final. This time around, to play a role and play in every game, it really means a lot.

We lost two games in a row, but we thought we had played some good hockey. Not so much in Game 4, but in Game 5 we definitely felt we deserved a better fate. They had two lucky bounces against us. Heading into this game, we had decided we were going to play much in the same way, play hard and score the first goal.

Our power play really won the game for us. Not only getting one on a major penalty, but to get three and build us a nice comfortable lead was nice. That being said, we didn't sit back.
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Posted On Monday, 06.11.2012 / 11:41 PM

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

Six is lucky number for Kings

Not only did the Los Angeles Kings win the first Stanley Cup in franchise history, they found a way to do it that no team had ever done before.

L.A.'s 5-1 victory against the New Jersey Devils on Monday night gave the Kings their first championship since entering the NHL in 1967. The Kings became the first team ever to win the first three games of the Final, lose the next two and take the Cup by winning Game 6. Of the previous 25 teams to take a 3-0 lead, 20 finished off the sweep, three needed five games to win, the 1945 Toronto Maple Leafs won in seven and the 1942 Detroit Red Wings lost in seven -- the only time that's happened in the Final.

The Kings also became the lowest-seeded team to take home the Cup -- they were 13th in the overall standings during the regular season. Before this year, the lowest-seeded team to win it all was the 1995 Devils, who were ninth -- just as they were this season. L.A. also became the first No. 8 seed to win the Cup since the current format was adopted in 1994.

Los Angeles became the first team since 2007 to win the Cup at home -- the Anaheim Ducks did it five years ago by beating Ottawa -- and ended a four-game losing streak by teams that had a chance to win the Cup in front of their own fans.
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Posted On Monday, 06.11.2012 / 11:00 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Kings' Stanley Cup win will have lasting impact

This is great for the city of Los Angeles.

There are no two ways around it. After finally defeating the Devils in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night, the Kings, at long last, are champions -- and for the city of L.A., as someone who knows what it's like to live and coach there, that's just a great thing. It's always great any time you do something for the first time and this franchise has been in the League since 1967, so it's a great reward for the city to finally get one after 45 years.

I also think this is a lesson to other teams. Several franchises in this League have been around for years without ever winning the Stanley Cup. The St. Louis Blues have never won the Cup. Neither have the Minnesota Wild, the San Jose Sharks, the Vancouver Canucks or the Phoenix Coyotes. The Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres? All still waiting to touch the Cup for the first time.

For fans of those teams, though, seeing the Kings finally win it all after 45 years is proof that no matter the wait, it can happen. If L.A. can win it, Minnesota can do it. St. Louis can do it. All of those teams can do it, and what's more important is the Kings have done it the right way. They've traded well, they've built through the draft and groomed their prospects well. They've made the right moves in the front office, too and it's all paid off -- and it can all pay off for those other teams, too.
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Posted On Monday, 06.11.2012 / 1:42 PM

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

Devils confident, but grounded heading into Game 6

LOS ANGELES -- Peter DeBoer and the Devils don't feel the situation they're in now is any different than the one they were in the last time they prepared for a game at Staples Center last week.

"I think it's the same feeling as when we were down 3-0," DeBoer said. "I think the hockey world pretty much wrote us off, and I think we feel we've played with no pressure because of that. I don't think that has changed because all of a sudden it is 3-2 now."

What has changed is the Devils confidence, which naturally rises after winning a couple of games in a row, especially against an opponent that seemed invincible before finally being cracked.

They say they're not overconfident heading into Game 6 Monday, but certainly it is something to watch out for.

"Now we won a couple of games we know that obviously we can beat these guys, and that can be very dangerous," Patrik Elias said. "This is the time when we have to take a step back, relax and again, just play the same way. We just gotta make sure that we're playing within our structure, that we don't get too worked up. This is going to be the toughest one."

Devils captain Zach Parise said his sense is that the team is loose, energetic and maybe even a little bit relaxed now that it has two wins under its belt in the Stanley Cup Final. He can say all the same things about himself as well now that he finally scored a goal in Game 5 for his first point of the series.

"When you work and work and you're doing the right things and you're not getting the results, it does get frustrating," Parise said. "It starts to build up, and then when you're able to break through and win a couple of games, that does a lot for the psyche of the team."

However, Parise added that the still dire predicament of having to win or watch the Kings parade around with the Stanley Cup is enough to keep the Devils grounded before Game 6.

"We still know how great of a team they are and how much better we still need to play to make this thing go further," he said. "We're still in a really tough spot having to win a road Game 6 to extend this thing."

The Devils will stick with the same lineup that worked in Games 4 and 5. Here are the likely line combinations and defense pairs:

Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk

Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus

Alexei Ponikarovsky - Adam Henrique - David Clarkson

Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Andy Greene - Mark Fayne

Henrik Tallinder - Marek Zidlicky

Bryce Salvador - Anton Volchenkov

Martin Brodeur

Johan Hedberg

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Monday, 06.11.2012 / 1:12 PM

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

Raising games at crunch time has kept Devils alive

LOS ANGELES -- The New Jersey Devils will try to stave off elimination for the fifth time this postseason in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Each time they have been in this spot, including twice against Florida and twice against the Kings, they feel they have responded because they have been able to raise their game and properly handle the adversity.

"Every time everybody has stepped up and brought their best," Devils rookie Adam Henrique said. "In every single one of those games everybody has stepped up their play."

They'll all have to do it again Wednesday at Staples Center (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS) or the Stanley Cup will be awarded to the Los Angeles Kings.

"That's gut-check time," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "There are clues during the year. At different points you get those pressure points in the season, a must-win, a big game to end a losing streak, to see how your team responds. Until you're actually facing the fact of going home for the summer unless you win, you're not really sure how you're going to respond."

The Devils have responded with two overtime wins against Florida after falling behind 3-2, and two tight wins over the Kings after losing the first three games of the Cup Final.

Devils captain Zach Parise credits the coaching staff for preparing the team for these difficult elimination situations, but he also said there is an element to this team that enables it to thrive through adversity.

Martin Brodeur has a 1.33 goals-against average and .945 save percentage in games when New Jersey is facing elimination.

"Our team must just play well when we're in a pressure situation, and I think that starts with our goaltending," Parise said. "You've got a person that has played in bigger games than any of us have ever played in and he has that sense of calmness back there and is making big saves when we need it. When we've had to play well we've done it for whatever reason."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Sunday, 06.10.2012 / 9:22 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 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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Quote of the Day

It was a big dream. [Messi] is probably the best athlete out there, so it's a big honor, for [Kuznetzov] as well. It's maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the best player in soccer right now. I'm a big Barcelona fan and Messi fan, so it's huge. You can take [Michael] Jordan, [Mark] Messier, [Wayne] Gretzky, those kinds of [people]. It's an honor to meet. It's nice to be in that position.

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