Never thought at the beginning of the year, I'd be seeing the New Jersey Devils and the Los Angeles Kings fighting it out for the Stanley Cup... guess stranger things have happened. But both teams deserve to be here... West Conference #8 Los Angeles is riding the red hot Jonathan Quick through a 12-2 run in the playoffs, knocking out the #1, #2 and #3 seeds in the process (first team in history to do that!) and East Conference #6 New Jersey is getting better and better the more they play. It's not going to be a high scoring series... both goalies are playing like Conn Smythe winners right now and for me, that's what it comes down to. Brodeur just hit 40 this month and is playing like he's 26... Quick's age BTW. Both goalies are hot right now and if it comes down to lengthy OT periods (which a couple of games should), it's a toss up.
Two years ago, or so, both teams were fighting over a certain #17 who is playing in his first final... LA and NJ were warring over Ilya Kovalchuk for months when his contract was held up by the system. And now, they're going to war again, over something a little bit better than a 12 year contract... the Stanley Cup.
My heart tells me to root for the Kings... 12-2 in the playoffs, Quick's been lights out and they've had a few more days off than Jersey. Richards, Carter and Gagne (who's on the IR) have all been here before and their leadership and insights are valuable at this time of year. The real question is Brown... if he can come back in this series and score and Penner and Stoll keep clicking in OT periods, the Kings win this thing. On the other hand, my gut says Jersey is winning this series... they have home ice, a goaltender looking for redemption after being written off a few years ago and an upcoming FA who wants to win as bad as anyone in Parise. Question is Brodeur... can he handle a Kings offense that has been great when it needs to be?
Who's winning Lord Stanley's Cup? The Devils won both the times they played the Kings this season and haven't faced each other since October... 6 months later, they fire off the first shots tonight. I've been on the Kings bandwagon since early March and I have no intention of leaving now. A young defense, a veteran offense, the best young goalie in the league...?
The Kings take this one in seven games.