Kings-Devils Stanley Cup finals matchup: Forwards

With the Devils and Kings set to begin the 2012 Stanley Cup finals on Wednesday at the Prudential Center, PHT will spend today and tomorrow breaking down the positional matchups.


New Jersey Devils

Zach Parise — Travis Zajac — Dainius Zubrus

Patrik Elias — Adam Henrique — Ilya Kovalchuk

Alexei Ponikarovsky — Jacob Josefson — David Clarkson

Ryan Carter — Stephen Gionta — Steve Bernier

Overview: The Devils owe much of their postseason success to balanced scoring, as eleven different forwards have at least six points (12 different forwards have scored at least one goal.)

The fourth line of Carter-Bernier-Gionta was massive against the Rangers, combining for seven points in the final two games of the series.

New Jersey’s obvious big guns are Kovalchuk and Parise, but they’re not the only ones providing clutch scoring. Henrique has 11 points in the playoffs, breaking Scott Gomez’s club rookie playoff scoring record, which included two series-clinching overtime goals.

Not to be outdone, all three of Clarkson’s goals have been of the game-winning variety as well.

X-Factor: The forecheck. Much has been made of its effectiveness through the first three rounds, and it’ll have to be as good — if not better — against the Kings.

Los Angeles Kings

Dustin Brown — Anze Kopitar — Justin Williams

Dustin Penner — Mike Richards — Jeff Carter

Dwight King — Jarret Stoll — Trevor Lewis

Brad Richardson — Colin Fraser — Jordan Nolan

Overview: The Kings are a big, big team up front as four guys (Kopitar, King, Penner and Nolan) are over 6-foot-3, 225 pounds. They use their size effectively by keeping puck possession and driving to the net.

Brown’s become a consistent scoring threat (points in 10 of 14 games) and Carter (another biggie at 6-4, 200) is heating up — he had five points in the final four games against Phoenix, more than he scored through the opening two rounds.

The Kings have also scored five shorthanded goals this postseason, the most since the Detroit Red Wings scored six in the 2008 playoffs.

X-Factor: Strength down the middle. Head coach Darryl Sutter has said in the past he think his centers — Kopitar, Richards, Stoll and Fraser — are the strongest part of his team.

After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe MorrowKevan Miller
Matt IrwinZach Trotman

And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

“I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

“It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

All in all, it was a tough night.

“We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.

Greene named 11th captain in Devils history

Dion Phaneuf; Andy Greene
1 Comment

Andy Greene has been named Bryce Salvador’s successor as New Jersey’s team captain.

Greene, an undrafted free agent that’s spent his entire nine-year career with the Devils organization, becomes the 11th captain in the franchise’s history and third American to wear the “C” (Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner were the others).

A former standout at Miami of Ohio, Greene — who served as an alternate captain in each of the last two seasons — has developed into a steady, durable blueliner that hasn’t missed a game in three years. He’s also locked into the Devils long term, having signed a five-year, $25 million extension with the club last summer.

That deal kicks in this season, and runs through 2020.

As for the rest of the leadership group, four players will serve as alternate captains this season: Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Mike Cammalleri, and Adam Henrique.

Elias and Zajac both wore an “A” in New Jersey last year, while Cammalleri and Henrique are first-timers.