Left and right coasts collide when the Los Angeles Kings and the New Jersey Devils meet at the Prudential Center in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Can we expect Snoop Dog and Billy Crystal to make the trip east? And, which way is our capper leaning?
The Kings of the Road
ride to the top of the Western Conference has included eight straight victories
on the road and an overall record of 12-2 in 14 postseason games. The Kings
successfully defeated the top three seeds in the conference and now have their
sights set on winning their first ever Stanley Cup title.
If they do
gain the early edge for the fourth-straight series by winning Game 1 on the
road, expect Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar to have a hand in it. These two have
far and away been the team’s biggest producers on offense with 13 goals and 18
assists in these playoffs. Los Angeles has also gotten a huge lift from the
stellar play of Jonathan Quick between the pipes. He has posted a
goals-against-average of just 1.54 and a .946 save percentage in the playoffs
after ending the regular season with a 1.95 GAA and a .929 save percentage.
New Jersey continues to elevate its
needed back-to-back 3-2 overtime victories to end its first-round series
against Florida, but continued to gain momentum by eliminating Philadelphia in
five games after losing the series opener and taking out New York in the
conference finals in six games after outscoring the Rangers 12-6 in the final
three games. The Devils are now 8-2 in their last 10 games overall and 6-1 in
its last seven home games.
three for New Jersey this postseason have been Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, and
Travis Zajak. This trio has lit the lamp a combined 21 times in 18 playoff
games to go along with 23 assists. The other major plus for the Devils has been
the play of 40-year old veteran Martin Brodeur in goal. He has been able to
turn back the clock to an earlier era when he was consistently one of the top
goalies in the NHL. He currently has a GAA of 2.04 and a .923 save percentage
in these playoffs.
The Kings are
6-1 in their last seven games as favorites on the road and 18-5 in their last
23 games as favorites overall. The total has gone OVER in three of their last
five games as road favorites.
are 5-1 in their last six playoff games as underdogs and 4-1 in their last five
games as underdogs at home. The total has stayed UNDER in three of their last
five games following a win.
is 4-1 in the last five meetings and the total has stayed ‘under’ in four of
those games. New Jersey beat the Kings in a 2-1 shootout as a 107 home
‘underdog’ and in a 3-0 shutout as a 155 road favorite in two early regular
I fully appreciate why fellow NHL capper Dave Lawrence is picking the Kings; after all, they've been perfect on the road in the postseason, but stick with the
Devils to keep the pressure on Quick all game long to grind out a win.
New Jersey 3 Los Angeles 2