Here we are folks. The New Jersey Devils are Eastern Conference Champions and will take on the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final. For New Jersey, it’s their first trip to the Cup since they defeated Anaheim in 2003. The Kings have not been in the Stanley Cup Final since 1993. In what should be an interesting series, the Devils look to finish off their 2011-2012 season on a very positive and somewhat unexpected note.
Who: The sixth-seeded New Jersey Devils will take on the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final. For the first time in the postseason, the Devils will have home-ice advantage. The Devils collected 102 regular season points with a 48-28-6 record. The Kings racked up 95 points with a 40-27-15 record. The Kings are 12-2 in the 2012 NHL Playoffs and, even more impressively, are 8-0 on the road.
Season Series: The Devils won the season series over Los Angeles. New Jersey (2-0-0, 4 points) won both of their games against Los Angeles (0-1-1, 1 point) in October; Johan Hedberg won both games for the Devils. One victory was in shutout fashion, the other came in a shootout.
Four More Wins: Jersey’s Team is just four wins away from their first Stanley Cup Championship in nine years. With a win, New Jersey will tie the Detroit Red Wings for most Championships in the last two decades with four each. This is the Devils’ fifth trip to the Stanley Cup in franchise history; New Jersey defeated Detroit in 1995 and the Dallas Stars in 2000 before losing to the Colorado Avalanche in 2001. In 2003, the Devils defeated the Anaheim Ducks in seven games to win the Cup again.
Key Players: It will be a battle of the goaltenders in this series. Forty-year-old Martin Brodeur is so close to his fourth championship. Look for him to turn up his game a couple of notches, if that is even possible. Brodeur has posted 12 wins this postseason, one shutout, and a .923 SV%. Back in 2003, Brodeur posted three shutouts in the Stanley Cup Final; the Devils won 3-0 in Game One, Two, and Seven. Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick has also posted 12 postseason wins, 2 shutouts, and a .946 SV%. In order for either team to win, they will have to rely on the netminder to carry them. Who will prevail victorious?
It’s Actually Kind Of Interesting: The Devils, for the first time this postseason, have home-ice advantage. However, the Kings are 8-0 on the road in the 2012 Playoffs. Can the Devils capitalize on their home-ice advantage? The Devils have won all but two of their home games in the 2012 Playoffs. The Prudential Center is certainly going to be louder than ever before during the Stanley Cup Final, and hopefully, the Devils are able to use that to their benefit.
What’s The Big Deal: The Kings are 12-2 in the playoffs heading into the Stanley Cup Final. Two of the Devils’ three Championships have come against teams who were 12-2 heading into the Final: Detroit Red Wings (1995) and Anaheim Ducks (2003). The Stars, who the Devils defeated in the 2000 Stanley Cup Final, were 12-5.
Stanley Cup History: The Devils are 3-1 in the Stanley Cup Final. The Kings’ only Stanley Cup Final appearance came in 1993. The Montreal Canadiens defeated Los Angeles in five games.
Prediction: Devils in six. I said the SAME THING before the Flyers and Rangers series and the Devils were able to win both series. Something about this match-up says seven games is not totally out of the question, though.
Above: New Jersey Devils left wing Zach Parise (9) scores against Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32) during the shootout Thursday Oct. 13, 2011. Devils win 2-1 against the Kings in a shootout. (Photo by Saed Hindash/The Star-Ledger)
Make sure you follow the @RWTDblog staff on twitter: @RealScottRobb, @DEVIN88MATTERA, and @Rvaidya33. You can check us out on facebook, too. If you have not done so already, make sure you visit our photo gallery highlighting the Devils’ victory over the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals. I will see YOU at the Prudential Center for Game Two of the Stanley Cup Final. Make sure you get your JERSEY on and support your team; be louder than ever!
LET’S GO DEVILS!