Even some of those of us who were there had to glance at the schedule for confirmation. The Kings and New Jersey Devils played twice during the regular season, with both games in October. That’s Oct. 2011, even though it feels as though it was two or three years ago. Given how much has changed for both teams, and the ups and downs of a six-month regular season, it’s doubtful that either team will put too much emphasis on the regular-season meetings, both of which were won by the Devils (one in a shootout).

For one, Devils goalie Martin Brodeur played only one period against the Kings because of injury, and backup goalie Jonathan Bernier started one of the games for the Kings. Both teams have undergone roster changes. The Devils’ bottom-six forwards, credited by sparking the team in the playoffs, were completely different in October. The Kings had totally different lines as well. All of which explains why Dustin Brown isn’t thinking too much about those regular-season games, or even when they were played.

BROWN: “It’s one of those things — I don’t even really remember the game. I just remember it was our first game back (after Europe), I think. Maybe our second game back. I don’t really remember much about their team, from playing them. Both teams are a lot different now. … I think there’s a big difference, game four in the schedule and a Stanley Cup Final game. It’s pretty irrelevant, what happened in the regular season.’’

One thing that players can look to is that the Devils figure to be their greatest challenge of the playoffs. The teams aren’t identical, by any means, but the series could easily come down to a battle of the forecheck. Both teams are aggressive in that area and both will look to establish momentum by stifling the other. Brown and Jonathan Quick talked about the matchup and the similarities between the teams.

BROWN: “I think they’re both really well structured. I think there’s differences in our structures, but everyone looks at the matchups and if they’re similar. I know they’ve got big wingers and so do we. It’s really hard to say, just because we don’t play these guys like we do the Coyotes and all the other teams we faced. We’re looking at video now, and figuring out what their game plan is.’’

QUICK: “They play a lot like us. They play a really strong game. They work hard. They have fast, big wingers. They have great centermen. They have a strong forecheck. So that’s something that I’ve going to see a lot of, over the next few games. I have to, if I’m able to, play the puck and try to create stuff for our defensemen so they’re not getting ran. If you look at Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, they’ve got tons of guys. Those top two lines, in general, are very potent, so we’re going to have to neutralize them.’’

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Alec martinez

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 210 lb | Age: 29

Born: July 26, 1987
Birthplace: Rochester Hills, MI, USA
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Martinez was drafted by the LA Kings in the 2007 Draft, while playing for Miami University. He has since become a two-time Stanley Cup champion and the 17th man in Stanley Cup playoff history to score the Cup-winning goal in overtime.

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Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

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Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

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Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.
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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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