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New Jersey Devils hope to find comfort in a different time zone

When the Devils face the Los Angeles Kings in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, it will be the first time New Jersey has played outside the Eastern time zone since Jan. 14. The Kings lead the series, 2-0.

June 04, 2012|By Chris Foster
  • New Jersey forward Steve Bernier, right, skates away as the Kings celebrate Jeff Carter's goal in overtime during the Kings' 2-1 victory in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday.
New Jersey forward Steve Bernier, right, skates away as the Kings celebrate… (Frank Franklin II / Associated…)

The New Jersey Devils are out of their time zone and it remains to be seen whether that gets them into a comfort zone.

The Devils had to wing their way west to play Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday at Staples Center. It was the first time the team has been in a different time zone since a Jan. 14 game at Winnipeg.

"Hopefully that plays to our advantage, getting that extra rest, not having those long flights," Devils forward Zach Parise said of the extended stay in the east. "No one in the east is going through the time changes and having those get-home-late type of flights. Hopefully, as the series moves on, that will be to our advantage."

It hasn't been so far, but that is because the Kings seem accustomed to jetting about for road games, part of the price for being an NHL team in Los Angeles. It is not uncommon for the Kings to play in three time zones in a short span of time, such as from March 9-13 when they had road games at Detroit and Chicago before returning home to play Detroit again.

The Kings haven't been overly extended in the playoffs. Their only series played outside the Pacific time zone was against St. Louis in the Western Conference semifinals. But the Devils didn't even have to leave their homes for their last two playoff series, against the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers.

"We're pretty fortunate for two series not to get on a plane, going on bus to Philly and a bus to the Rangers," Devils defenseman Andy Greene said.

Home cooking didn't help. The Kings took a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final by winning two overtime games in New Jersey, both 2-1. The Kings have not lost on the road during the playoffs, their 10-0 mark an NHL record. So is their road playoff winning streak of 12, which dates back to last season.

The Devils are hoping to snag some of that road magic.

"It feels good to get back into this routine a little bit, get on the road, kind of get away from home, get back to being just focused on the single thing, the game," Greene said. "When you're on the road, there's a lot less distractions, a lot less things to worry about. I think it will be a big plus for us."

The Devils were 24-15-2 on the road during the regular season, tying them for the second most road victories in the NHL. The Flyers and the Boston Bruins both had 25. New Jersey is 6-4 on the road during the playoffs.

While the Kings flew across country after their victory in Game 2, , the Devils remained home and came west Sunday.

"We flew. We practiced. We had a later dinner," New Jersey Coach Peter DeBoer said. "You try to keep the guys up until 10 or 11 p.m., if you can. I don't know if it's realistic, but you want to get on L.A. time as quickly as you can."

Game times, though, remain the same — 8 p.m. EDT and 5 p.m. on the West Coast.

"It's one of those things; we're actually not even really focusing on it too much, to be honest," Devils' defenseman Bryce Salvador said. "I think the atmosphere of being in the Final kind of takes care of all the scheduling, all that. So it hasn't really been that big of a deal."

chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

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