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Gretzky to drop puck for Kings-Devils game

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NEWARK, N.J. – The Los Angeles Kings will reach back to another era on Monday night to try to give their current team a boost of energy in the form of a shot of 99.

The greatest King of them all, the greatest player of all for that matter, Wayne Gretzky will be at the Staples Center on Monday night for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final and the Free Press has learned he’ll drop the puck in a ceremonial faceoff.

Gretzky led the Kings to their first trip to the final back in 1993 ending in a loss to the Montreal Canadiens. The Kings are back for the first time since and now hold a 1-0 lead over the New Jersey Devils prior to tonight’s Game 2 (7 p.m., CBC) here in Newark.

Devils coach Pete DeBoer spoke this morning about the layoff since Wednesday’s Game 1.

"You know, I don't have an answer to that. I don't know. I don't think it's a perfect scenario, all the days off. I don't think anyone enjoys that," said DeBoer.

"You want to play. You get to this point, you know, as coaches you get tired at looking at tape, analyzing, you analyze it to death. From a player's perspective, you know, they have that nervous energy. The only release is dropping the puck and playing. I don't think it favours either side. It is what it is and you just deal with it the best you can."

DeBoer was also asked if his Devils had another gear to raise their game in terms of a competitive mentality.

"You know what, I think we've had to redline our game really from Game 7 against Florida, through the Philadelphia series, through the Rangers series," said DeBoer. "I'm not sure there's another level of emotion or compete in our group. It's just been consistently bringing that to the rink every night. You know, if we hadn't brought or redlined our complete level through those other series, we wouldn't have survived them."

DeBoer said he would be making no lineup changes prior for Game 2 and was asked about any growing animosity in this series.

"You're playing for the Stanley Cup. If the compete level isn't at the highest point it's ever been during your career or during the season, then there's an problem," said DeBoer.

"I don't think that's an issue. You know, I would doubt you're going to see any fighting. I think both teams' discipline is at a premium. We're both good five-on-five teams. I don't think either of us wants to get into a specialty team game. You're not going to see any of that stuff. But that doesn't mean that it's not a war at ice level for ice and puck battles and space. As you saw by the head count the other night, it was 70-something hits, which is a high, high number."

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