Allsports here for some hockey in the sports news and sports on the web. So the Stanley Cup Final starts tonight in New Jersey with the two most unlikely of combatants squaring off for Lord Stanley’s Mug. After 1,230 regular-season games and another 80 playoff games it has boiled down to the 9th and 13th-place teams from the season standings. That would be the New Jersey Devils and the Los Angeles Kings respectively. If you had placed a bet in Vegas at the beginning of the playoffs that these two teams would meet in the Stanley Cup Final, well you would be rich now and not have to worry about work.
Both teams have kind of run a parallel course to get to the final. using a good defensive system, making minimal mistakes and playing a four line game with no passengers to keep all the players relatively fresh. Both have had steady and at times great goalkeeping to keep them in the game. Yes both Jonathan Quick and veteran Martin Brodeur have made that big save all playoff long to keep their team in the game and not give the opposition the all important momentum. In fact Brodeur is having so much fun and has played so well, the 40 year old is thinking he will come back for another season. When Brodeur hits the ice tonight it will be his 200th career playoff game and the only other guy to do that in NHL history is Patrick Roy. Arguably the two best goalies to ever strap on the pads.
Allsports finally got it right when picking the two teams that would come out of each conference. It was about time considering my record up to that point had been pretty dismal. It should be a very good final as both teams seem to be at the top of their game. Most of the experts are picking a L.A. Kings victory which would give the beautiful people in La La land their first Stanley Cup Championship. Allsports is sure Garry Bettman would not mind that outcome either and although Garry was drooling at the thought of a Los Angeles, New York final he is not too disappointed because the New Jersey Devils are more or less the same demographic. Mind you many Rangers fans may not watch the final just out of spite. One man who is not riding the L.A. Kings bandwagon is respected writer for “The Hockey News“, Ken Campbell. Mr Campbell is picking the New Jersey Devils in six games and for the most part his reasoning is that the Devils and Martin Brodeur have been there before so they have experience in their corner.
Now allsports will weigh in on what he thinks will define the Stanley Cup Final and who will win it. In goal you have a rejuvenated Martin Brodeur who is making the big saves when he has had to. He played as good or better than Henrik Lundqvist in the Eastern Final and that is no small order considering King Henrik is up for a Vezina trophy nomination. Now Brodeur is up against Jonathan Quick, another Venzina candidate. Quick has been solid all year for the Kings and is one of the main reasons they got to the playoffs to begin with. He has been solid all through the playoffs and there is no reason to assume he won’t be there in the Stanley Cup Finals. Allsports thinks this position is a wash and pretty much even. Maybe a bit of an edge to the Devils just for who Brodeur is and the experience he brings to the table. On Defense I would have to go with the Kings, Drew Doughty is the best defenseman on either team and does have some offensive flair. Both defences average over six feet but Allsports thinks Doughty and his supporting cast are a little more mobile than the Devils defence. Advantage Kings.
The forward lines are similar in the fact that both teams have pretty much run four lines all through the playoffs and both coaches have confidence in their fourth lines to get the job done. In fact it could be argued that the fourth lines for each team are a major reason why they are here. They have both scored big goals for their teams through the playoffs, chewing up valuable minutes and wearing down the opposition. The Devils have skills in Parise and Kovalchuk but the Kings have Kopitar, Brown, Richards and Carter. In fact Richards second line could be the straw that stirs the drink and a Kings advantage. Advantage Kings.
Intangibles, Quick handles the puck ok but no one handles it as well as Brodeur who is like a third defenseman out there. The Kings have to keep their shoot ins away from Brodeur and make the Devils defense turn and retrieve the puck. Then the Kings can get the fore check going and pressure the Devils defence. The Devils are a very aggressive fore checking team too and obviously have been successful with it.
You can be sure that Darryl Sutter has informed his troops to keep the puck away from Martin Brodeur as much as possible. If Brodeur can play it the Devils will have a much easier time getting out of their end zone and it will be much harder for the Kings to get the fore check going. Allsports thinks the Kings are slightly better along the boards than the Devils and should cause turn overs with their pressure attack if they keep the puck away from Brodeur.
In the end Allsports thinks the Kings will make life miserable for Martin Brodeur in front of his net and wear down the Devils defence. The big Kings forwards will be tough for the Devils defence to move out from in front of the net. The Kings defence on the other hand, led by Doughty and Willie Mitchell can be a very nasty group and will have a little more success in clearing for Quick. Allsports is thinking a Los Angeles Kings Cup Championship in 6 games.
” No Guts No Glory”
Filed under: Hockey