LOS ANGELES - New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer is going to shuffle his deck to try and avoid being skunked in the Stanley Cup final.
With the Los Angeles Kings poised for a sweep to win the first Stanley Cup in franchise history at the Staples Center Wednesday night, DeBoer will bring in a couple of veterans in defenceman Henrik Tallinder and forward Petr Sykora for Game 4.
Tallinder will replace Peter Harrold on the blueline and Jacob Josefson will come out to make room for Sykora.
“Peter Harrold played great, gave us some good minutes,” said DeBoer. “The reality is Tallinder was a top-two defenseman for us, was all year. He’s been out for a long time. This is the first time in the last four or five days where we felt in practice that he was up to game speed and a legitimate option.
“We considered it after Game 2, but our group I thought had played such a good game that I didn’t want to change it then, but now it seems appropriate.”
Tallinder has been out of the lineup since January with a blood clot.
“I haven’t been playing for a while, so I’m pretty excited to come back and to just be able to play again,” said Tallinder. “In my situation it was a little different because of the blood clot. You have to be really sure that everything was resolved in the leg. It was.”
The Devils have gotten off to slow start in each of their series this spring -- they are 4-8 in the first three games of series and 8-1 in games four through seven -- though this time it seems the 0-3 hole they're in is too deep to extricate themselves.
“I don’t have an explanation for that. I haven’t found a significant jump in our play in the second half of series,” said DeBoer. “I just think we find a way to get everything clicking, where early in the series some things haven’t worked. That speaks in all three series that we played in. I think we, as a group, have done a good job of recognizing what’s working and what isn’t working against certain teams, kind of fixing it as the series has gone on. Obviously, that’s the same thing here.”
The Kings are not expected to make any lineup changes.
Why would they want to change anything? They are 15-2 in these playoffs.
“I think routine is really important for players,” said coach Darryl Sutter. “Do the same thing today as we did last game. It’s not that we have to change anything, that’s for sure. You know what, as I said all along, there is a point that it’s about the players. The farther you go, the more games you play, so ... can pretty much leave it at that.”