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Stanley Cup sweeps week? Plus goalie talk and Sabres' draft party

The Kings have been unbeatable on the road. If they play the same way in Los Angeles, this could be the final week of the 2011-12 season.

The Kings host New Jersey tonight in Game Three of the Stanley Cup finals, and the folks in L.A. are eager for a sweep.

"That's probably one of the loudest rinks I've ever played in, and it's going to be even louder," Kings center Mike Richards said.

The Kings won the opening two games in overtime, so the Devils made the trip to the West Coast feeling they are plenty capable of sending the series back east after Games Three and Four.

"We all can be better, and we will be," Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk said. "I really believe so. We really care about each other, and that's what's going to make us better - the team. Not one guy, not two guys, all of us have to stick together and grow as a team."

Former Sabres defenseman Henrik Tallinder said he's ready to return for the Devils after being out since January, but coach Pete DeBoer said he's not planning any lineup changes.

In other NHL news:

*The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired goaltender Tomas Vokoun from the Washington Capitals and promptly signed him to a two-year, $4 million contract today. He will back up Marc-Andre Fleury, who tired while dominating the workload in front of Sabres whipping boy Brent Johnson.

*Boston goalie Tim Thomas announced over the weekend that he will sit out this season.

"At the age of 38, I believe it is time to put my time and energies into those areas and relationships that I have neglected," Thomas said on his Facebook page Sunday. "That is why at this time I feel the most important thing I can do in my life is to reconnect with the three F's. Friends, Family, and Faith."

(The best comment I heard was the ultra-conservative Thomas is sitting out to get ready for the "doomsday" end of the world on Dec. 12. David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail has a more realistic thought: Thomas wants a trade out of Boston and a new contract.)

*The Sabres will once again welcome fans to First Niagara Center for a free party to celebrate the opening night of the NHL draft.

Fans can head to the arena at 5 p.m. June 22 to watch the first round on the HD video board and participate in family friendly entertainment. The night will feature player autograph sessions and floor hockey events on the arena floor. Children 12 and under will be required to wear a helmet to participate.

Admission to the party is free, and the team is also offering complimentary parking in the arena ramp. The Sabres Store will offer fans a discount of 42 percent off their entire purchase, a sale commemorating the team’s upcoming 42nd season in the NHL.

---John Vogl

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |