Devils need more shots and Kovalchuk has to be better | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaDevils need more shots and Kovalchuk has to be better

Posted: Saturday, June 2, 2012 | 11:19 AM

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New Jersey forward Ilya Kovalchuk didn't make an impact in the Stanley Cup final opener, but still leads all NHL players with 18 playoff points. (Julio Cortez/Associated Press) New Jersey forward Ilya Kovalchuk didn't make an impact in the Stanley Cup final opener, but still leads all NHL players with 18 playoff points. (Julio Cortez/Associated Press)

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Here are three things you need to know about Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final between the New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings at the Prudential Center on Saturday. The Kings won their ninth in a row on the road in the series opener with a 2-1 win in overtime on Wednesday.

Here are three things you need to know about Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final between the New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings at the Prudential Center on Saturday. The Kings won their ninth in a row on the road in the series opener with a 2-1 win in overtime on Wednesday.

The Devils need more shots on goal

New Jersey actually had a second period shot on goal taken away from them by NHL officials in the 48 hours between Games 1 and 2. That means the Devils only put 17 shots on Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.

For a team that has averaged 29.7 shots on goal in its 19 playoff games, it was only the second time the Devils were held to fewer than 20 shots in a game. Quick has been sensational in the Kings playoff run with a .946 save percentage and firing only 17 shots at him makes his life easier.

New Jersey counts on its bounce back ability

The Kings have opened each of the previous three rounds by winning the first two games on the road to return home with a 2-0 lead. It's a trend the Devils would like to halt on Saturday because only five times in 47 tries has a team overcome a 2-0 lead to win the final and only twice in nine occasions has a team overcome losing the opening two games at home.

The Devils, however, have the experiences of a trend of their own to fall back on. In the last two series against the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers, New Jersey was beaten in the series opener but rebounded to advance. The Devils also overcame a 3-2 deficit in the first round against the Florida Panthers and trailed 2-1 in the East final against the Rangers.

No Tallinder and no help for Kovalchuk

There was speculation that Devils defenceman Henrik Tallinder, out since Jan. 17 with a blood clot in his leg, would return to action in Game 2. But Devils coach Peter DeBoer will keep his lineup the same as it was for the series opener.

DeBoer also remarked that he won't try to get his best player Ilya Kovalchuk away from the matchup against the Kings defence pairing of Drew Doughty and Rob Scuderi. Kovalchuk, who vowed to be better after his team's optional skate on Saturday morning, was held to only one shot on goal on Wednesday.

"We played [against Dan] Girardi and [Ryan] McDonagh against the Rangers, same thing," DeBoer said. "If they're going to match those guys up in order to get him away, we're going to have to get away from a four-line game. If they're matching up against Kovalchuk, then they're not matching up against Parise or other guys. The matchup game isn't something that I'm interested in or worried about. For me, it isn't relevant.

"I think our identity is a four-line team. Kovy is a piece of that, but he's not the team. I don't think that's how we're built. I don't think that's why we've had success. We're capable of surviving on nights when he doesn't score or isn't at the top of his game, just like we're capable of surviving nights that Elias or Parise or other guys aren't. I think that's the strength of our team." 

Devils projected forward lines

Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Dainius Zubrus

Alexei Ponikarovsky - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk

Patrik Elias - Jacob Josefson - David Clarkson

Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Starting goalie: Martin Brodeur

Kings projected forward lines

Dustin Brown - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams

Dustin Penner - Mike Richards - Jeff Carter

Dwight King - Jarret Stoll - Trevor Lewis

Brad Richardson - Colin Fraser - Jordan Nolan

Starting goalie: Jonathan Quick


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