LOS ANGELES -- The Kings were built with the classic hockey blueprint. Start from the back end and move forward. Develop a franchise goalie, then support him with a versatile defense that has a mix of high-end offensive talent with stay-at-home steadiness.
Construct a group of forwards by starting with a franchise center in Anze Kopitar, then build right down the middle with others like Mike Richards and Jarret Stoll. The final piece is the wing. In the case of the Kings, that piece was Jeff Carter.
The plan was well-drawn-up and flawlessly executed by Kings GM Dean Lombardi.
Then there are the Devils.
They didn't have the luxury of such meticulous planning. They have an aging goalie. A no-name defense. A team with two franchise forwards who both grew into stardom as left wingers.
It's anything but the traditional blueprint. But it works because they're the Devils. Because success is now ingrained into the franchise's identity.
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