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Battle of the beards: Penner leads Kings while Greene very bushy for the Devils

Los Angeles Kings' Dustin Penner skates during practice in preparation for Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals against the New Jersey Devils in Newark, N.J., on Tuesday, May 29, 2012. Dustin Penner has the mountain man look. Ryan Carter is working a Three Musketeers-look moustache. And Zach Parise's face is smooth as a baby's bum. The playoff facial hair is all over the map at this Stanley Cup. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP - Julio Cortez

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Los Angeles Kings' Dustin Penner skates during practice in preparation for Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals against the New Jersey Devils in Newark, N.J., on Tuesday, May 29, 2012. Dustin Penner has the mountain man look. Ryan Carter is working a Three Musketeers-look moustache. And Zach Parise's face is smooth as a baby's bum. The playoff facial hair is all over the map at this Stanley Cup. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP - Julio Cortez

NEWARK, N.J. - Dustin Penner has the mountain man look. Ryan Carter is working a Three Musketeers-look moustache. And Zach Parise's face is smooth as a baby's bum.

The playoff facial hair is all over the map at this Stanley Cup.

Playoff beards are still in, however, and King behemoth Penner leads the way.

"Not many guys can grow beard around their eyes," said Kings defenceman Rob Scuderi, who sports not a bad bush himself.

"He's a pretty hairy guy all over," added L.A. forward Jeff Carter, who scored the winning overtime goal in Game 2 Saturday to send the Kings home with a 2-0 lead in the series. "It didn't take him long to start filling his out."

The facial hair solidarity in the post-season is a tradition.

"It's something to build around," said Devils forward Ryan Carter. "It's just another one of those things that reminds you of where you're at."

Added teammate Steve Bernier: "I started first game of the playoffs and I've been growing it ever since.

"That was the goal, to go as long as possible."

The size of the beard does not necessarily denotes playoff success, however. Some players just grow facial hair faster than others.

And some don't really grow it at all.

Ryan Carter, for example, opted for a small but stylish moustache rather than the beard.

"The decision is genetic actually. I don't know if I have a choice to grow the playoff beard," he explained. "I don't have really a playoff moustache either but it's what I've got and what I'm wearing."

He points to defenceman Andy Greene and forward Eric Boulton as having the best beards on a Devils lineup that is not allowed facial hair during the regular season under club rules.

"Andy Greene's got a thick beard. His looks best though because he's got a little less hair on top than he does on his chin."

Advised of Carter's comments, Greene breaks into a proud smile and then returns the compliment.

"I think he's got the best moustache in the league going right now," he said. "You've got to respect that thing. It's nice."

The Kings appear to have gone all in when it comes to not shaving. Given the size of the squad, it's mad for some wild-looking dudes.

"Some guys are better than others, but I think everyone's in on it," said Jeff Carter, one of the big and bushy brigade.

Not so in the Devils dressing room where captain Parise is unashamedly clean-shaven.

"I've been shaving all along," he said.

Greene knows why.

"Zach tried growing one for the first two games. It wasn't pretty."

Jeff Carter can grow a beard with the best of them. He likes the look.

"At the start it gets little itchy or what not but it's been going for so long now that it's pretty comfortable," said the Kings forward

And it makes the morning grooming easy.

"Just get up and go," said Carter.

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