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Kings visit Devils in North American opener

by Mike G. Morreale /
KINGS (1-1-0) at DEVILS (1-1-0)


Season series:
This is the first of two meetings between the clubs this season. In 2010-11, the Kings scored a 3-1 victory at Staples Center in Los Angeles in the only contest as Jarret Stoll had a goal and two assists and Jonathan Quick made 39 saves. The teams will meet again in Los Angeles on Oct. 25.

Big story: The Kings begin their North American schedule against the Devils at Prudential Center after a two-game swing in Europe for the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere against the New York Rangers in Stockholm and the Buffalo Sabres in Berlin. Newly acquired Mike Richards has a goal, an assist and a minus-2 rating, while averaging 19:26 of ice time on a line with Dustin Brown and Brad Richardson.

Team Scope:

Kings: After going with goalie Jonathan Quick in a season-opening, 24-save, 3-2 victory over the Rangers, Kings coach Terry Murray opted for Jonathan Bernier in a 4-2 loss to the Sabres. Bernier, who allowed four goals on 26 shots, went 11-8-3 in 25 appearances last season and finished with a 2.48 goals-against average and .913 save percentage. Murray will likely stick with the hot goalie throughout the season.

Devils: Zach Parise scored twice and Ilya Kovalchuk added a goal and two assists to lead the Devils to a 4-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday afternoon, giving coach Peter DeBoer his first victory behind the Devils bench.

"It's exciting," DeBoer said. "It's nice, I'm glad. You put in a lot of work over the summer in meetings and through training camp. It's nice to win. It's also nice to see us execute some of the things that we're trying to do."

According to the Devils' website, DeBoer is considering putting Rod Pelley and Cam Janssen in the lineup with Brad Mills at center against the Kings. Both Pelley and Janssen were healthy scratches in the club's opening two games.

Who's hot:
If playing time is any indication of a first-year player sticking with the big club, then defenseman Adam Larsson is certainly looking like he's locked in along the Devils' blue line for the foreseeable future. The No. 4 pick in the 2011 Entry Draft followed 21:46 of ice time in the opener with a team-high 24:35 in a victory over the Hurricanes on Monday.

Injury report:
Devils center Travis Zajac (torn left Achilles tendon) is on injured reserve and Larsson (groin), who said he was hit in the midsection by Eric Staal with 1:35 left in the second period on Monday, is probable. … Kings forward Dustin Penner (lower body) missed the opening two games, but seems likely to make his debut with the team Thursday.

Stat pack:
Through two games, the Kings' power-play is hitting at a 28.6 percent efficiency (2-for-7), which puts them sixth in the League in that category. The Devils, meanwhile, have scored one goal with the man advantage on 10 opportunities through two games and are ranked 19th in the League. The Devils were 0-for-5 against the Flyers in their season-opener on Saturday.

Puck drop:
The Devils' players are wearing a patch that reads "KR-AV" to honor former Devils Karel Rachunek and Alexander Vasyunov, both killed in a team plane crash in Russia. The jerseys from Saturday night's home game and Saturday's road opener at Nashville will be signed and auctioned off, with the money going to the two families.

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