Thanks to the 2012-13 NHL lockout, the hockey world missed the rematch of the Stanley Cup from the year before. Since there were no Eastern Conference versus Western Conference matchups (outside of the Cup finals obviously) during last season, fans missed out on seeing the New Jersey Devils take on the Los Angeles Kings.
There are now many new faces, but many on both teams are the same. The Kings still have Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty along with former Philadelphia Flyers Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. The Devils still have Patrik Elias, Adam Henrique and Andy Greene along with the infamous fourth line that took over the media in that year’s playoffs.
Many faces, however, will be different. The goaltenders will be 100 percent different in this game with Cory Schneider, who is very familiar with the Kings from his time with the Vancouver Canucks, and most likely Ben Scrivens in net for the Kings. Both of these players weren’t even on the team’s rosters last season. Ilya Kovalchuk, David Clarkson and Zach Parise are all major contributors who are now gone from New Jersey. Dustin Penner and Simon Gagne are no longer a part of the Kings organization. Andrei Loktionov actually was traded from the Kings to the Devils. Martin Brodeur is playing the second game of the team’s back-to-back while Jonathan Quick is out with a groin/hamstring injury.
The new players on both teams are the aforementioned Schneider and Scrivens, Jaromir Jagr, Michael Ryder, Damien Brunner, Eric Gelinas, Dwight King and Tyler Toffoli. Even these players should know what it is like to play the team that beat you in the Finals. Jagr knows what it is like to lose a Finals you felt like you could win from last year’s with the Boston Bruins.
There are plenty of storylines to look at even with all the different players in the lineup. Elias returns to the lineup tonight after missing the last six games with a back injury. Steve Bernier plays the team that almost ruined his career after a major penalty against them pretty much sealed the Devils’ fate. New Jersey has been very good as of late and is looking to get right back in the thick of the Metropolitan Division race. The Kings are trying not to get lost when it comes to the extremely good Pacific Division.
The Devils really felt like they could have won that Cup. The veterans on this team like Marek Zidlicky and Anton Volchenkov feel like they let their chance at a Stanley Cup slip from their hands. They lost the first two games in overtime on the road and they lost control of Game 6 when they allowed three goals in one questionable major penalty call. This may mean more to the Devils than it does to the Kings as far as the rematch goes, but it is huge for both teams as far as the standings. Both teams are within one point or tied for the fourth spot in their division. It is going to be a great game to watch.