In terms of matchups, a big chunk of the attention before Game 1 centered around how the Kings would deal with the New Jersey Devils’ two high-powered wingers, Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise. Parise was clearly the bigger threat to the Kings in Game 1, as he had three shots on goal and a couple scoring chances. Kovalchuk had one shot on goal in 21 minutes, 13 seconds, of ice time.
It’s quite clear that the Devils will look to get Kovalchuk more involved in Game 2. Asked whether Kovalchuk’s relative silence in Game 1 was symptomatic of the Devils’ overall low shot total, or whether Drew Doughty did an effective job of defending Kovalchuk, coach Peter DeBoer said, “A little of both.’’ That’s an honest answer, and probably accurate. As a follow-up, DeBoer was asked whether he would attempt to get a different matchup look for Kovalchuk in Game 2.
DEBOER: “No. Doughty is going to play as much as he has to play. There’s no getting away from that. We can’t focus on that. This time of year, you’ve got to play head‑to‑head against good players and you’ve got to win those battles. That’s the bottom line.’’
Another good, honest answer. On their side of things, the Kings have to expect a tougher game from Kovalchuk in Game 2, and must remain ever-mindful of Parise as well. Anze Kopitar, as the Kings’ No. 1 center, almost always draws the matchup against one of those players’ lines.
KOPITAR: “Whoever is out there against them, there’s always a special attention to that kind of players with that kind of caliber. Whoever is out there is just making sure that it’s not given to them. Every time, playing against that type of guys, you have to make it hard on them. I thought we did a fairly good job of that.’’