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Devils vs Kings - 2012 Stanley Cup Final

Kings trying to avoid distractions of Game 6

Sunday, 06.10.2012 / 7:51 PM / Devils vs Kings - 2012 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings had just steamrolled through the top three seeds in the Western Conference and claimed the first three games of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final.

It was a surge unlike anything in League history -- a No. 8 seed, a team that barely got into the Stanley Cup Playoffs went 15-2 to move within one win of a championship. The Kings had a chance to win the Cup in a series sweep, on home ice and on the 45th anniversary of the organization adding its first players in the 1967 expansion draft, no less.

All the Kings had to do was finish off the New Jersey Devils in Game 4 at Staples Center, but a few of the players said Sunday the mental fortitude that kept this club so focused despite leading the first three series of the postseason 3-0 slipped just a bit before the first potential Cup-clincher on home ice Wednesday night.

"We don't want any distractions. I think a lot of us before Game 4 were distracted with family members and friends, the Cup coming in the building," defenseman Drew Doughty said at the Toyota Sports Center. "A lot of things we have to put aside. Family always comes first for everyone, but at this point of the year, the team has to come first. We're a family in the room, on the ice. Right now, we're No. 1 in everyone's mind."

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Salvador showing his skills at both ends of the ice

Sunday, 06.10.2012 / 12:51 PM / Devils vs Kings - 2012 Stanley Cup Final

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

During his 11 NHL seasons and 692 games, the Devils' Bryce Salvador has developed a well-earned reputation as a rugged defenseman who is willing to pound forwards, block shots and do whatever it takes to keep the puck out of his net.

It's taken 23 games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs to get people to start looking at him in a different light.

Salvador struck for his fourth goal of the postseason Saturday night -- the game-winner -- as the Devils fought off elimination for the second game in a row by defeating the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 at Prudential Center to force Game 6 on Monday night at Staples Center. The Kings lead the best-of-seven series 3-2.

At no point during his career did Salvador register more than 16 points in the regular season. During this postseason, he has 4 goals and 10 assists after posting zero goals and nine assists in 82 regular-season games. His 14 points are tied for most among defensemen in the playoffs along with the Kings' Drew Doughty and have him tied for eighth in overall scoring.

"I went 82 games without scoring, so any goal I can take, I'm taking it," Salvador said while cracking a smile. "I think whenever you can contribute on the score sheet, you enjoy it."

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Back-to-back losses haven't derailed Kings' hopes

Sunday, 06.10.2012 / 12:00 PM / Devils vs Kings - 2012 Stanley Cup Final

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

NEWARK, N.J. -- They've seen their lead in the Stanley Cup Final melt from 3-0 to 3-2. They've seen their perfect spring on the road end, their flawless penalty-killing dented.

What the Los Angeles Kings haven't seen is an erosion of their confidence.

The Kings will try for a third time to wrap up the first Stanley Cup in franchise history when they host the New Jersey Devils on Monday night (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS). They missed one chance Wednesday in Los Angeles when they lost 3-1, then came up short again in a 2-1 loss Saturday at Prudential Center that ended their 10-game road winning streak this spring.

But they know they'll take the ice at Staples Center on Monday still owning the lead in the series -- and still confident they can close out the Devils.

"We have an opportunity to win the Stanley Cup," goaltender Jonathan Quick said when asked if the Kings could take any positive from the loss. "We don't need any other positives."

The Kings have every reason to feel confident going into Game 6. They outplayed New Jersey for most of Game 5, but paid the price for a misplay by Quick that led to Zach Parise's first-period power-play goal -- and got a bad break in the second period when Bryce Salvador's shot hit L.A. defenseman Slava Voynov and caromed past Quick.

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Kings search for answers after second-straight loss

Sunday, 06.10.2012 / 1:03 AM / Devils vs Kings - 2012 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- After seven weeks of waltzing through the Western Conference and to within one win of the Stanley Cup, the Los Angeles Kings have arrived at their biggest challenge to date in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The New Jersey Devils defeated the Kings 2-1 on Saturday night, and have now won two straight contests against Los Angeles. That is as many losses as the Kings had while accruing 15 of the 16 necessary victories to claim the Cup.

"They don't just hand this thing out," Kings defenseman Matt Greene said. "It is difficult. It is hard to do. It is a test, and you got to be the better team to close this thing out."

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Brodeur no longer lost in Stanley Cup Final shuffle

Sunday, 06.10.2012 / 12:54 AM / Devils vs Kings - 2012 Stanley Cup Final

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- There were so many accolades and superlatives being directed toward the Kings' Jonathan Quick during the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final that it was hard to notice the future Hall of Fame goaltender in the crease at the other end of the rink.

Martin Brodeur
Goalie - NJD
RECORD: 14-8-3
GAA: 2.00 | SVP: 0.922
The 40-year-old Martin Brodeur, however, is making his presence known when the Devils need him most.

For the second straight game, Brodeur rose to the occasion to keep New Jersey's season alive. He made 25 saves as the Devils brushed off elimination once again in a 2-1 victory against Los Angeles on Saturday at Prudential Center.

Is it possible that a goaltender with three Stanley Cup rings, two Olympic gold medals and four Vezina Trophies was getting lost in the shuffle?

"Yeah, definitely," Devils defenseman Mark Fayne said. "Even in those first two games, everybody was giving Quick all the credit and Marty was making great saves, keeping us in those games when we weren't playing that well. He was really the reason we got to overtime (in 2-1 losses in Games 1 and 2). Now, it's just showing up in the wins. He's been outstanding."

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Quick uses historic stinginess to claim Conn Smythe

Saturday, 06.09.2012 / 11:00 PM / Devils vs Kings - 2012 Stanley Cup Final

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES -- An 8-year-old Jonathan Quick was perhaps the most nervous boy in Connecticut in June 1994, at home on his parents' couch watching Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Final between the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks.

Quick's favorite player was goaltender Mike Richter, who carried the Rangers to their first championship in 54 years on the strength of the best regular season of his career that he managed to improve upon for four rounds of the postseason.

"I grew up a Rangers fan, so I saw a lot of them," Quick said. "He was very competitive, very explosive. He competes, he battles. I just remember I was more nervous back then than I am for (Game 4)."
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Kings driven by Sutter and his pursuit of perfection

Saturday, 06.09.2012 / 11:00 PM / Devils vs Kings - 2012 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

LOS ANGELES -- Perfection is what Darryl Sutter strives for, what he demands.

The 53-year-old hockey lifer from Viking, Alta., who was pulled off his farm to coach the Los Angeles Kings just before Christmas, fell just short of that in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, losing four of 20 games. Instead, he will have to settle for his first Stanley Cup championship.

The Kings delivered their coach the Cup with a dominating 6-1 victory in Game 6 at the Staples Center on Monday night. The Kings, who struggled on the power play throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs, scored three times during a five-minute major in the first period to put the game out of reach.

But make no mistake, it was Sutter's pursuit of perfection every single day since he took over in Los Angeles that allowed, and almost forced this team of champions to make history under his guidance. It was his pursuit of perfection that enabled him to join his brothers Duane and Brent in the fraternity of Stanley Cup champions.

"He strives to be perfect, and in hockey that is pretty tough to do," Kings center Mike Richards said. "He expects that out of you and he pushes for it."
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'Flyers of the West' are now Cup champs

Saturday, 06.09.2012 / 11:00 PM / Devils vs Kings - 2012 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

LOS ANGELES -- Executives across the National Hockey League call this a copycat league. If that's the case, the Philadelphia Flyers ought to feel honored right now.

While Kings general manager Dean Lombardi says he never aimed to sculpt his championship roster based on the Flyers model; he did intend to craft the same winning culture that exists in Philadelphia -- a culture that he was a part of for three seasons as a professional scout.

Do we dare say his model is better than the original? After all, the Kings are now Stanley Cup champs thanks in part to the Flyers.

"It comes down to culture and it's all about winning," Kings assistant general manager Ron Hextall, one of the most beloved players in Flyers' history, told NHL.com last week. "In Philadelphia, you're part of a team. There is no one person more important than the Flyers. That's pretty much what we've tried to bring to L.A.
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Task for Devils is simple: Survive

Saturday, 06.09.2012 / 1:09 PM / Devils vs Kings - 2012 Stanley Cup Final

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

 

NEWARK, N.J. -- Nothing changes for these New Jersey Devils until they are told they can't play any more this season.

Each day, they show up at the appointed time at the appropriate place -- be it for practice, game or team function -- with the singular focus of extending the campaign one more day.

"We just want to win Game 5, That's all we can control," Devils captain Zach Parise said at the morning skate Saturday before Game 5 at Prudential Center (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS).

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Pang: Devils need Brodeur, aggression in front of Quick

Saturday, 06.09.2012 / 12:35 PM / Devils vs Kings - 2012 Stanley Cup Final

Darren Pang - Special to NHL.com

The number one thing the Devils did well in Game 4 that they have to do in Game 5 is be opportunistic. That's one part of the game, where they took advantage of the chances they had. They were a little more aggressive in front of Jonathan Quick. It's very rare that you see a team capitalize on a rebound and get behind L.A.'s defense. Patrik Elias did that and scored a key goal.

For the most part, teams have a had a hard time with L.A. because even when you manage to score a goal, they come back and score a goal that can really deflate your team. That happened, but New Jersey stuck with it and ended up getting that huge goal from Adam Henrique. Going through the playoffs, very few teams have been able to do that against the Kings.

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I think I'm lucky to be here and you definitely don't take very many things for granted, if you take anything for granted. I definitely put my family and my wife and my close family in perspective, that they're the most important thing in the world. I want to do whatever I can to play hockey, but like I said, under the right circumstances.

— Stars forward Rich Peverley to "The Musers" radio show on The Ticket 1310 AM in Dallas