NEWARK, N.J. - Expect hits not fights in the Stanley Cup final.
New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer says with the Cup at stake, the rivalry between the Devils and Los Angeles Kings is intense despite the fact they only played twice during the regular season. And that was back in October (the Devils won both games).
"You're playing for the Stanley Cup. If the compete level isn't at the highest point it's ever been during your career or during the season, then there's an problem," DeBoer told a news conference before Game 2 Saturday night.
"I don't think that's an issue. You know, I would doubt you're going to see any fighting. I think both teams' discipline is at a premium. We're both good five-on-five teams. I don't think either of us wants to get into a specialty team game. You're not going to see any of that stuff.
"But that doesn't mean that it's not a war at ice level for ice and puck battles and space. As you saw by the head count the other night, it was 70-something hits, which is a high, high number."
New Jersey led the Kings 44-35 in hits in Game 1.
DeBoer said he planned to go with the same lineup as Wednesday when the Kings won 2-1 in overtime.
DeBoer says no one likes the gap in between games.
"I don't think it's a perfect scenario, all the days off. I don't think anyone enjoys that. You want to play. You get to this point, you know, as coaches you get tired at looking at tape, analyzing, you analyze it to death. From a player's perspective, you know, they have that nervous energy. The only release is dropping the puck and playing.
"I don't think it favours either side. It is what it is and you just deal with it the best you can."