May 30, 2012 Leave a comment
I can’t say I’m proud of my predictions so far, but I’m sure there are many out there just like me who didn’t see this final coming.
From the Eastern Conference we have the sixth seed New Jersey Devils, and from the West we have the eighth seed Los Angeles Kings. Both teams have surprised a lot of people, but they definitely deserve to play in the finals with the efforts they’ve put in. Let’s take a look at each team and the path they’ve taken to get here:
Los Angeles Kings
The Kings have had to face the top three seeds in the West to get to this point. They took out the Canucks in five, the Blues in four and the Coyotes in five – that’s impressive. Goalie Jonathan Quick has been a vital part of his team’s run, going 12-2 with a GAA of 1.54 and a save % of .946, both good for top spot in the playoffs (looking at goalies who have played more than five games). They’ve also received some key offense from their top players like Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar who are 3rd and 5th in playoff scoring, respectively. The Kings will be a force to reckon with – and we’ve established they don’t need home ice advantage to win a series.
New Jersey Devils
With three of the top 10 scorers in the playoffs (Kovalchuck, Parise, Zajac) the Devils aren’t the boring defense-only team they used to be. They’re showing they can put the puck in the net without the benefit of a Martin Brodeur on his A-game – though he’s been solid in net and is keeping his team in the game, which is all that matters.
Who will take it?
It’s a tough decision. The Kings have been playing some outstanding hockey and as the eighth seed, statistically shouldn’t be playing. They’ve proven that they can handle the big guys, don’t care about home ice advantage and are playing smart, disciplined hockey. The Devils, as the sixth seed from the East have been just as, if not more surprising this post season as well. They have home ice for the first time all playoffs and that should be beneficial because they won’t have to deal with the time zone changes as much as the Kings, which is helpful to Brodeur who will need as much rest as he can get.
All that being said, based on their dominance throughout the playoffs, it’s a safe bet to go with Los Angeles taking the cup in 5 games. Let’s hope they don’t prove me wrong.