Devils stay alive in Game 5

I think I may have a new second-favorite hockey team in the LA Kings after going to Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals last night in Newark. Me and my friend R.J. went to college with the cousin of Dustin Brown, the Kings’ captain from Ithaca, N.Y., so when the Kings made the Cup and came to Jersey, we decided to go support Dustin and the Kings. Here’s some photos from my seats.

While I wish I was covering this game as media, I was really pumped to just have had the opportunity to go — I was 10 the last time my Rangers made the Cup finals, so I was happy to go down to Jersey for this and root for the Kings, especially since I absolutely despise the Devils. I stopped by the NHL Store on 6th Ave on Friday and bought us both some Dustin Brown Kings t-shirts, so we looked legit.

There was a surprising amount of Kings fans at this game — maybe around 8-10 percent — so we didn’t feel like too much of a target. That’s the reality for the Devils, who had to plead with their own fans not to sell tickets during the last series to Rangers fans.

My friend Kathy Willens was covering the game for the AP, I got to say hi before the action started — check out her incredible images from the night here.

Our seats were in Sec. 105, which in baseball sounds like it would be a front-row seat, but at the Prudential Center, it was fairly high up in the corner of the upper deck. We had row 6, so it was low in the upper level. Here’s a faux tilt-shift photo of the arena I took with my Droid X:

Before the game (and after having some fake General Tso’s chicken), we walked down to the Kings’ end of the rink for warmups to try and get some photos of Dustin:

I wanted to bring my 400mm or 300mm lens, but I didn’t want to risk being turned away at the gate by security, so I played it safe and just took my 70-200mm with a 1.4x televconvter. So, I was around 280mm @ f/4 at most. It worked out perfectly for warmups since we were standing two rows back from the glass:

From our seats, this was the angle I had of the far end of the ice with my 70-200. Not bad — here’s Marty Brodeur with a stick save in close:

The tricky thing with my angle was the netting that hung behind the goal left me with about 60 percent of the ice being unobstructed for photos (it’s fine to look through as a fan, just not ideal to shoot through). So, I tried to get something in the neutral zone:

This looks like a goal, but it was a great save (somehow) by Vezina Trophy finalist Jonathan Quick on Ryan Carter. I’m not used to shooting sports so wide, and this actually turned out to be a neat image with all the surrounding players watching — some falling over each other — along with the fans. You can see a remote camera setup above the “G” in the Geico ad behind Quick’s net, probably Getty or AP:

Dustin gave us a smile during warmups, showing off his lack of teeth and playoff beard:

Here’s Quick during warmups. Not the sharpest image, but the glass here was better than in Long Island, when I was actually covering a game and trying to shoot through the puck marks:

Here you can see the netting fudging up the image. Unfortunately, the Kings lost and the series heads back to LA tomorrow for Game 6. I was really, really excited for a chance to see a team win the Cup in person, something I never dreamed I would ever see in my life.

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