The Finale: Los Angeles Kings @ New Jersey Devils- Stanley Cup Finals
Well, the end of hockey season is coming really quickly. It seems like the season started just a few months ago. Now, it is drawing to a close, but not before the Stanley Cup Finals between the Kings and the Devils. Now who predicted this final? I know I sure didn’t. Many people thought Pittsburgh would come out of the East while in the West; many people thought it would be Vancouver, Detroit, or Chicago. But everybody likes surprises, and what a wonderful surprise of a series this is going to be.
Los Angeles Kings: Now how did the Kings get this far? In the first round they played the President’s Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks, or the #1 seed in the Western Conference. They made quick (not trying to make a pun here) work out of the Canucks eliminating them in 5. Next was the #2 seed St. Louis Blues. Can you say sweep? This is exactly what St. Louis saw as Los Angeles eliminated them in 4. Next up for the Kings was the #3 seeded Phoenix Coyotes. The Kings played another brilliant series and won handily in 5, by dispensing the Desert Dogs 4 games to 1. Now who would’ve thought a #8 seed would knock off the top 3 seeds in consecutive series.
How did the Devils get here: In the first round, the sixth seeded Devils took on the #3 seeded Florida Panthers. This was a really tough series that showed the Devils toughness in winning this series in a hard fought 7 game series. Next up for the Devils was a series against the #5 seed Philadelphia Flyers. The Devils showed who the best team really was in dispensing the Flyers in 5. Last up for the Devils on their journey to the wonderful SCF was the tough, hard-nosed #1 seed New York Rangers. This was another tough series and the Devils fought hard to win this in 6.
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Players to watch- NJ: This is intriguing to me, but I have three. First off is goaltender Martin Brodeur. This could be the 40-yr old Brodeur’s final season, and if it is what a wonderful way to go out with a third Stanley Cup Ring. Brodeur already owns almost all of the major significant goaltending records, and if he plays the way he has, could have the Devils winning a ring. Secondly, can Ilya Kovalchuk continue his scoring prowess in the playoffs? Kovalchuk has 18 points in 17 games with a total of 7 goals and 11 assists. Lastly my third player to watch is captain Zach Parise. This could be Parise’s final game in a New Jersey sweater. Parise has 14 points in 18 games. Parise has been even with 7 goals and 7 assists. These three players are the keys to the success of New Jersey winning another cup.
Players to watch-Los Angeles- First player to watch for the Kings is goaltender Jonathan Quick. Quick has been extremely dominant in this postseason with a record of 12-2 and a goals against a tiny, miniscule 1.54. He has been dominant to say the least, only allowing 22 goals in 14 games. WOW! My second player to watch would be captain and scoring leader this postseason, Dustin Brown. Brown has been a PPG player with 16 points in 14 games, with 7 goals and 9 assists. Even more amazing, is Brown has a sick plus/minus of plus-13. Amazing. Lastly my third key would be Jeff Carter. The key to the series is scoring, and while the Kings have been on a roll, the Devils have been great as well. I believe that if you do not see Carter show up and start scoring more goals, or assisting more, the Kings chances might diminish somewhat. These are the players to watch in this series.
Series Prediction: I can see this series easily going 6 or 7 games, most likely 7 as these teams can each steal home ice from each other. With New Jersey having home-ice advantage, everyone might say that I am picking New Jersey. But the Kings have been just so dominating this postseason with a brilliant record of 12-2. However, I am picking this series as New Jersey in 7, with Brodeur winning his third ring!
By: Charlene Cudia
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer