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Bruce Boudreau: Kings need to keep Ilya Kovalchuk off scoresheet

The Ducks coach shares his insight heading into Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Kings and New Jersey Devils.

May 29, 2012|By Bruce Boudreau
  • The Kings will try to put the defensive clamps on Ilya Kovalchuk, who creates a lot of the New Jersey Devils' offense.
The Kings will try to put the defensive clamps on Ilya Kovalchuk, who creates… (Jim McIsaac / Getty Images )

Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau and Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin will blog for The Times occasionally throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs. Today, Boudreau gives his general thoughts on the Kings as they prepare to play the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Final.

Hello, hockey fans.

Before we talk about the Stanley Cup Finals, a quick look back at the conference finals:

As I said last week, I think Phoenix took it as far as they could go. They played as well as they could play. L.A. didn’t play great in Game 4, but they had been playing at such a high level, at some point they were going to have an off game. But they weathered the storm early in Game 5 in Phoenix and went on from there. The better team definitely won the series. But let’s give the Pacific Division credit, the best division in hockey!

Here is my theory on the Rangers: One of the reasons I think they won the East in the regular season is that they are the hardest working team in the league. They didn’t have the peaks and valleys others teams had. They were already playing as well as they could play, and they deserve credit for that for playing at such a high level.

But Ottawa, Washington and New Jersey raised their level of play. And the Rangers were already playing as well as they could. And that was the difference.

This should make for a real interesting final. The Devils’ top two lines are really humming. They are getting secondary scoring and checking lines and have an intangible in net with Martin Brodeur. The guys are playing for him and want to win it for him.

They do have questions on defense, but they have raised their game at the right time.

If you are the Kings, the biggest thing is to keep Ilya Kovalchuk off the scoresheet. He creates a lot of their offense. The other key is playing in the Devils zone, which they’ve consistently done in the first three rounds.

For the Devils, they have a great forecheck, and they have to put pressure on the Kings' defense. No other team has done enough of that. Phoenix didn’t have enough scoring to do it, but New Jersey does. They will constantly put pucks on the net, with the Zach Parise, David Clarkson, Kovalchuk type of guys. It will be the toughest series for the Kings' defensemen.

The great real intangible is Jonathan Quick vs. Brodeur. The game within the game. Can Marty do it one more time? Or is Quick going to continue what he’s doing and win the Conn Smythe?

In the end, I still think L.A. has too much depth. I think their goaltender will make the difference. They are going to win the Cup.

Enjoy the series!

Bruce

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