The 2012 Stanley Cup Final begins on Wednesday night at the Prudential Center as the New Jersey Devils host the Los Angeles Kings. It will be the fifth time in the past 17 seasons that the Devils will make an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. They have won the Stanley Cup three times in their previous four trips.
Los Angeles has been rolling through the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They have posted an 8-0 on the road in the playoffs so far and have only lost a combined two games through the first three rounds. Dustin Brown has led the charge for his team in the playoffs so far, posting 16 points through 14 postseason games.
New Jersey's big guns have been their strongest players in the playoffs so far. Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise have led the way offensively for the Devils, while Martin Brodeur has been excellent in net. New Jersey has a lot of offensive firepower, and they are a complete team that can win in several different ways on any given night.
As good as Brodeur, who is arguably the greatest goaltender of all time, has been for the Devils, Jonathan Quick has been even better for the Kings. Quick leads all goaltenders in save percentage(.946) and Goals Against Average(1.54) in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs and has simply been sensational. He has proved that he is one of the best goalies in the NHL and he will have to play like he played for the first three rounds to keep the high-powered New Jersey offense at bay.
Los Angeles has been playing at an almost unprecedented level throughout the first three rounds of the playoffs. Will they be able to continue that trend against the Devils? New Jersey has been able to score timely goals in the playoffs to put themselves in the position to win their fourth Stanley Cup championship. Will they be able to get through the tenacious forecheck of the Kings and get quality scoring opportunities on Quick?
Prediction: I expect a fast-paced and entertaining series. Both teams have plenty of speed to burn and both teams have a pretty high amount of skill on their team. Brodeur and Quick have been the main reason that these two teams have made it to the Stanley Cup Final. That goaltending matchup will be the difference in the series. Los Angeles will win the series in six games and will win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. With the way that Los Angeles has been playing in the playoffs so far, I don't see how anyone could beat them.