The New Jersey Devils will host a Stanley Cup finals game for the first time since 2003, and the Los Angeles Kings will appear in one for the first time since 1993; both teams will clash at Prudential Center, this Wednesday at 8:30 PM ET for game one.
“You hear it every year, but it doesn’t get old: Once you make it in, you have a chance to get here,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “I think that’s one thing that the prognosticators don’t consider. I always put it this way, when the playoffs start, the clocks should be reset. Because everyone’s starting over, and all 16 teams have a shot to win it all.
“I think both teams would agree with that this year.”
The Kings have been outstanding winning the eight playoffs games on the road they have played so far. However, they haven’t played in eight days, waiting for the Devils and Rangers series. “Everybody’s just clicking,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. “People are used to playing with their linemates now. The lines have been the same from the last part of the season. D pairings are the same. It’s just getting used to them. Everyone is playing with confidence. Once you start clicking like that, pucks start going in the net for you.”
The Devils, on the other hand, will rely on the experience of 40 years old Marty Brodeur who has won the Stanley Cup three times, the first one dated in 1995. “It’s all about winning here, and eliminating distractions and doing what it takes to be successful,” said Brodeur, who led the Devils to Cups in 1995, 2000 and 2003. “That’s worked for us this year, and really my entire career. For me, to be a part of that is great. To come to the rink every day during my career, knowing we had a chance to win every night is something special.
The Devils have Brodeur’s experience and that of Zach Parise and Illya Kovulchuk, however they will be much less rested than the Kings – who have yet to lose on the road. Look for the Kings to win game one.