One of earliest head-to-head battles to emerge from Stanley Cup finals was between Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk and Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.
If Game 1 was any indication, Kovalchuk will see plenty of the Kings’ top blueliner during this series.
Also, it won’t be much fun for Kovi.
Doughty (along with Rob Scuderi) kept the Russian sniper quiet throughout Wednesday’s game and Kovalchuk finished with just one shot on goal in 21:13 of ice time.
Today, Devils head coach Peter DeBoer was asked about the matchup:
Q. Your thoughts on the way Ilya Kovalchuk and Drew Doughty went at it? Was Doughty that good last game or was Kovalchuk part of the team that struggled along trying to create some offense?
COACH DeBOER: A little bit of both.
Q. Do you need to do more to get him away from Doughty?
COACH DeBOER: No. Doughty is going to play as much as he has to play. There’s no getting away from that. We can’t focus on that. This time of year, you’ve got to play head-to-head against good players and you’ve got to win those battles. That’s the bottom line.
Not sure the idea of getting Kovalchuk away from Doughty should be dismissed. Eventually, it might become a necessity.
In last year’s Stanley Cup finals, Henrik and Daniel Sedin couldn’t escape the shadows of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, and it played a large part in Vancouver’s demise.
As George Santayana once said: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.