The Stanley Cup Final will get under way from New Jersey tomorrow when the number six seed out of the Eastern Conference the New Jersey Devils host the number eight seed out of the Western Conference the Los Angeles Kings.
It isn’t the Stanley Cup Final that most hockey fans would have predicted. Nevertheless, it should hold the same amount of intrigue from a national perspective. The Devils are challenging for their fourth Stanley Cup in seventeen years, while the Los Angeles Kings are trying to capture their first Stanley Cup in franchise history when it was founded in 1967.
Both teams took their own ways of getting to the Cup Finals. The Kings took a miniscule fourteen games to win the Western Conference. Their only blemishes were in Game 4 against the Canucks in the Western Conference Quarter Finals and to division rival Phoenix in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final. It’s an astonishing achievement for a team that fired their coach midseason and was a very mediocre 500. hockey team before March. The hire of head coach Darryl Sutter may have been the best coach available. In fact, in 2004, Darryl Sutter took the Calgary Flames on a Cinderella type run. Unfortunately for him, the series ended in disappointment when the Lightning edged the Flames in a tough seven games.
In contrast, the Devils who took eighteen games to win the Eastern Conference and had a different road to the Stanley Cup. They didn’t play as tough of teams as the Kings did; however, they had more difficulties getting to the Cup Finals. In fact, twice the Florida Panthers pushed New Jersey to the verge of elimination; in both games, New Jersey needed an overtime goal to keep their season alive.
Both of these teams are deserving of being in the Stanley Cup. The Kings have gotten here with everyone chipping in at different times and a strong will to win, while the Devils have gotten here with puck luck and experience.
No player on the Devils roster has more experience than Martin Brodeur. The 40-year-old net minder will be appearing in his fifth Stanley Cup Final. In his playoff career he has posted a 2.04 Goals Against Average (GAA) and a 919. Save Percentage. At the age of 40, it would be safe to assume that this will be his last time in the Cup Final. It’s extremely hard to get to the Stanley Cup finals once, let alone do it in back to back years. Brodeur is a class act, therefore, it would be awesome to see the Canadian add a fourth Stanley Cup ring to his resume.
Whether or not the Devils win the Cup is anyone’s guess. We still don’t know how the Kings will fair if they face some adversity and get behind in the series. On the other hand, we still don’t know how much gas the Devils have left in their tank. For my pick, it would be very easy to pick the Kings in 5 or 7 games. Why? The last four Stanley Cup Champions have hoisted the Cup on the other teams ice. However, I see that streak ending this year.
My Pick: Devils in 7