DeBoer: You get this far because “you grew up wanting to win a Stanley Cup”

After 105 regular season and playoff contests, staying rested is a challenge for the New Jersey Devils. Their coach, Pete DeBoer decided that it was a bad idea to hold a practice Monday morning after the team flew cross-country for Game 6 in Los Angeles.

So instead most of the Devils went on walks, because if there’s one thing they don’t want to do all day, it’s lay around.

“We have a lot of those guys,” DeBoer said. “Lou (Lamoriello) reminds me on a daily basis. I’ll come off the ice, tell the guys to get off and he’ll give me a call telling me there’s still 15 guys out there 15 minutes later. So, you have to go back and get them off.

“They love to play. I don’t think you get to this point of the year unless your best players genuinely love to play. You’re not playing at this point of the year for money or for anything else. It’s because you love to play and you grew up wanting to win a Stanley Cup. When your best players have that desire, you have success and part of that is they don’t want to come off the ice, they don’t want to leave the rink. You have to push them out, push them off.”

What the Devils have done so far is certainly a testament to their strength of character as a group. It would have been easy for them to give up after going down 3-0 in the Stanley Cup finals. At that point, no one expected them to overcome the odds and their season would have still been called a success in the grand scheme of things, but they didn’t want to give up.

Of course, the Los Angeles Kings can claim the same kind of drive, especially given their status as a team that had to claw their way into the playoffs in the first place. These squads are both worthy of the Stanley Cup, but only one will get it.

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    ‘Hawks were ‘as close to brutal as you can get’ against Blues

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    The Chicago Blackhawks have been relatively good this season, but head coach Joel Quenneville was far from impressed by his team’s performance in Wednesday night’s loss to the St. Louis Blues.

    The Blackhawks found themselves down 1-0 after one period and 3-0 after two periods. To make matters even worse, they managed just eight shots on Blues goalie Jake Allen through 40 minutes.

    They finally managed to score two quick power play goals late in the third period, but it was too little too late.

    “That was a bad start and a bad middle,” Quenneville said after the game, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “That was as close to brutal as you can get. They played well and we were brutal.”

    Yea, Quenneville wasn’t happy.

    The possession chart from the game (via hockeystats.ca) gives us a pretty clear look at how everything unfolded during Wednesday’s game.

    The Blues (dark blue) built up a pretty comfortable lead in possession until the ‘Hawks (light blue) turned it on late in the game. Where was that urgency in the first two periods?

    After going 3-0-1 in their first four games of the season, Chicago has now dropped two of their last three contests.

    They’ll have a chance to get back on the horse right away, but don’t expect it to be easy for them. They’ll host the Edmonton Oilers, who have struggled out of the gate, tonight. Still, stopping Connor McDavid won’t be easy.

    They’ll conclude their three games in four nights stretch in Arizona on Saturday night. The ‘Hawks will then head to Vegas on Tuesday before playing back-to-back games against Nashville and Colorado on Friday and Saturday.

    Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

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    PHT Morning Skate: Islanders make young cancer patient’s dream come true

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    –ESPN’s latest power rankings look at each team’s biggest worries this season. The Maple Leafs are number one in the rankings, but they should be concerned that a youngster like Mitch Marner might regress during his sophomore season. (ESPN)

    –Earlier this season, Lightning forward J.T. Brown raised a fist during the playing of the American anthem. Now, Brown says he won’t raise his first anymore, but he will get more involved in his community. (Tampa Bay Times)

    –Happy belated birthday to Penguins winger Phil Kessel who turned 30 on October 2nd. Unfortunately for Phil, Pens TV caught him struggling to blow out his birthday candles. (BarDown)

    –Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman came out with his weekly “31 Thoughts” column on Wednesday. He discussed the pressures of the NHL, the latest in the Matt Duchene saga, the Bruins wanting to re-sign Chara and much, much more. (Sportsnet.ca)

    Will Butcher, Jesper Bratt and Nico Hischier have grabbed a lot of the headlines in New Jersey this season, but allaboutthejersey.com believes that veteran Adam Henrique has been the most important player on the roster. Henrique wins faceoffs, he’s on the first power play unit, the first penalty-killing unit and he’s been productive. (allaboutthejersey.com)

    –The Winnipeg Jets signed Steve Mason during the summer so that he could be their starting goaltender for the next two years. That hasn’t exactly worked out. Connor Hellebuyck has been the better of the two goalies and it’s time to make him the starter. (The Score)

    –The Mexican Hockey League unveiled their logos and uniforms. They’re pretty unique to say the least. That Olmec Stone Heads logo is…something! (sportslogos.net)

    –Now that we’re two weeks into Golden Knights’ inaugural season in the NHL, we know exactly what hockey in Vegas looks like. “With no laws against open containers, it was a tailgate atmosphere in a downtown setting. Instead of fans holding cans of light beers and sitting in patio chairs next to cars in a parking lot, they were on city benches holding half-priced margaritas and towers of frozen alcohol. If you followed the path of a beanbag being tossed during a game of cornhole, your eye would catch an advertisement for a Lady Gaga show.” Sounds like fun! (Vice Sports)

    –Ken Holland was a big reason for Detroit’s run of 25 consecutive playoff appearances, but it sounds like a lot of Red Wings fans think he’s become the problem. (metrotimes.com)

    –Brandon Bloom, who is an eight-year-old boy suffering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma, got to hit the ice with the New York Islanders. What an experience for the youngster. “When they brought it to our attention, I think everybody was excited about it,” said Islanders forward Josh Bailey. “I had a chance to meet the Bloom family a while ago. They’re really quality people and they’re going through a tough time.” Great work by the Isles and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. (NHL.com)

    Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

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    The Buzzer: Kempe, Schwartz record hat tricks; Leafs honor Gord Downie

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    Players of the night: Jaden Schwartz, St. Louis Blues / Adrian Kempe, Los Angeles Kings

    The Blues forward tallied his third career hat trick during a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Schwartz scored the game’s first two goals before completing his hat trick with a late empty-net goal to stave off a Chicago comeback.

    Wednesday’s feat for Schwartz came three years to the day of his first career three-goal game.

    Kempe, meanwhile, tallied his first NHL hat trick and finished with four points during LA’s 5-1 rout of the Montreal Canadiens. Two of his three goals were assisted by Mike Cammalleri, who also finished the night with four points.

    Highlight of the night:

    Eddie Olczyk returned to the NBC broadcast booth as he continues his battle against colon cancer. Olczyk, along with Doc Emrick, called the Blues-Blackhawks game from Scottrade Center Wednesday night.

    MISC:

    Auston Matthews recorded the 20th multi-point game of his career. He now has six goals and 10 points on the season.

    Patrick Marleau became the 18th NHL player to reach the 1,500-game mark.

    Jake Allen kept his shutout bid alive with this great stick save on Patrick Kane late:

    -The Kings are off their best start in franchise history at 5-0-1. They’ve allowed only 10 goals against through six games.

    Jeff Carter left the game in the first period and did not return after tangling with Jeff Petry. Afterward, Kings head coach John Stevens said the forward will miss some time.

    -Finally, The Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie passed away from cancer at age 53 on Wednesday. The Maple Leafs paid tribute before their game against the Red Wings.

    Factoid of the night:

    Scores:

    Maple Leafs 6, Red Wings 3

    Blues 5, Blackhawks 2

    Kings 5, Canadiens 1

    Cammalleri, Kempe power Kings over Canadiens

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    Adrian Kempe recorded his first career NHL hat trick and Mike Cammalleri added two goals as the Los Angeles Kings beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-1.

    After Paul Byron opened the scoring for Montreal midway through the first period, the Kings responded with five unanswered goals to hand the Habs their sixth straight defeat.

    Cammalleri, who inked a one-year deal over the summer to return to the Kings, had a hand in four of LA’s five goals. He started the scoring for the Kings in the first period by celebrating the Dodgers’ playoff run with his own special kind of baseball swing.

    Kempe, who finished with four points as well, scored his three goals over a span of 10:50 in the third period to help the Kings to their best start in franchise history (5-0-1).

    LA remains the only NHL team yet to lose in regulation this season.

    ————

    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.