The last six weeks have brought us here. Every strange twist and turn brought us here. For the first time since the current playoff format started in 1994, we have two teams that finished in the bottom half of their respective Conferences compete for the top prize in the land.
Joining the cavalcade of pundits who can never seem to get it right, we have our three “experts here” engaged in an epic picks competition.
Last round, the competitors that were in last place, Glen and the Coin both went 2-0 and both correctly predicted the Devils winning in 6, earning 3 points. While Troy, the man in first, went 1-1 while correctly predicting a Kings dismantling of the Coyotes, earning 2 points. This leaves all three competitors tied at 9 points, this is sure to be interesting!
STANLEY CUP FINALS
New Jersey Devils vs. Los Angeles Kings
Hands up if you saw this one coming. Nobody, right? This is probably the least predicted finals since Edmonton-Carolina back in 2006, which coincidentally is the only other time an 8th seed has made the finals.
A quick look at the standings and it’s easy to think of these teams as underdogs, both teams played all three series on the road to get here and they knocked off a combined 5 of the 6 division leaders on the way. However, a quick look beyond those numbers and you find something different, the Devils were tied with the Bruins and Red Wings for seventh most points in the entire league, while the Kings still had a chance to slide into 3rd in the West on the last day of the season.
Maybe that’s what makes these teams so interesting, their apparent contradictions. The Kings are loaded with fire power yet somehow struggle to score goals. The Devils have a history of stymying offense, yet are currently loaded with two of the most creative forwards in the league. The Kings defense improved when they sent away their second best defenseman in February. The Devils defense has been solid all post-season, despite the total absence of any recognizable names at the back end. The Kings goalie was expected to be a place holder for the next one to come in, yet is putting up some phenomenal numbers in this legendary run. Thee Devils goalie was expected to start passing the torch to some “next one”, yet is putting up some of the best numbers in his legendary career.
Troy Says: So no surprise to anyone. This is exactly the Final we were expecting. Pittsburgh vs Vancouver. Sidney vs Luongo. I tell you, I think it’s going to be a great series…….I’m sorry….did you just say the Stanley Cup is being played between Los Angeles and New Jersey? That can’t be right……I’m going to have to fire my secretary……
Most Interesting Story: How on earth could it not be goaltending? We have said this so many times this post-season it is truly fitting to have it come down to a matchup like this. Brodeur is trying to do it one more time while the young, upstart is trying to steal his own moment. This makes the most compelling individual matchup we’ve seen in the finals since the last time the Devils played a team from the LA Area.
Most Interesting Stat: Because it’s the finals, here are a host of semi-relevant statistics which are sure to interest someone.
- The 4,416km between the two arenas is the third highest distance between two finalists ever. Only Ducks-Sens (4,451km) and Kings-Canadiens (4,560km) racked up more Frequent Flyer Miles.
- Jonathan Quick was playing High School hockey the last time Brodeur was competing for the Stanley Cup
- Both teams have/had a Suter brother as a coach
- Both teams have/had a Ponikarovsky as a player
- Both teams have/had a Kovalchuk on the other side of the negotiating table
- This is the second consecutive year, and second year overall, that we’ve been guaranteed to have a non-Canadian hoist the Cup first
- These two franchises shared the old Smythe division for the 1981-82 season when the Devils were still the Rockies.
- Simon Gagne, Rob Scuderi, and Willie Mitchell were the only Kings were alive at that time, compared to ten members of the New Jersey Devils, the oldest team in the NHL this season.
- David Clarkson is the only member of the New Jersey Devils to be born in Ontario, compared to eight members of the LA Kings.
- Chances of Don Cherry bringing this up if the Kings win: 100%
- Chances of Don Cherry bringing this up if the Devils win: 0%
Glen’s Prediction: Kings in 6, with them finally losing a road playoff game in there.
Troy’s Prediction: I’m going to go with my gut and say Kings in 7. Should be a hell of a series.
Coin Says: Kings in 7 (coming back from 3-0 at that)
Looks like we all might finish tied in the end…