NEWARK, N.J. -- Mike Richards emerged from the visitors' dressing room today after the Kings' morning skate knowing it was just a matter of time before emotions run high between Los Angeles and New Jersey in the Stanley Cup final. The intensity level could increase tonight in Game Two.
The Kings and Devils were tentative and might have shown too much respect for one another, which made for a forgettable opener. Neither team wanted to make a mistake and came out flat in the first period before gradually picking up the pace. All it takes is one cheap shot, Richards said, and it will turn into an emotional series.
"In the second period, it started to heat up," Richards said. "As the series goes on, you expect what you expect and get that little hatred for some of their players out there. A couple hits that you might not like or you don't think is clean, you start getting that hatred and it builds from there.''
Richards played for the Flyers in 2009-10, when they lost to the Blackhawks on Patrick Kane's overtime winner in Game Six. Philly and Chicago quickly grew to despise one another and has passionate fans supporting them, which made for an intense series. Devils fans were excited Wednesday but not nearly to the same degree.
One reason is the two teams hadn't played one another since October. The Devils were the first team the Kings faced after opening the season with two games in Europe. Players on both sides barely remember the games. They shouldn't have any problem this time around.
"Within the conference, you play each other four times," Richards said. "There's always one or two plays that you don't really like that you go into a series thinking about one guy or one play. It's been a while since we played each other. We're not very familiar with them. It's different when you don't have that hatred for one another, where you're trying to take his head off with a clean hit."
--- Bucky Gleason