The Stanley Cup Finals will officially begin tonight as the Los Angeles Kings will battle the New Jersey Devils for Lord Stanley. Here is the schedule for the Finals:
|WED, MAY 30, 2012||8 PM||LOS ANGELES KINGS AT NEW JERSEY DEVILS||NBC, CBC, RDS|
|SAT, JUNE 2, 2012||8 PM||LOS ANGELES KINGS AT NEW JERSEY DEVILS||NBC, CBC, RDS|
|MON, JUNE 4, 2012||8 PM||NEW JERSEY DEVILS AT LOS ANGELES KINGS||NBCSN, CBC, RDS|
|WED, JUNE 6, 2012||8 PM||NEW JERSEY DEVILS AT LOS ANGELES KINGS||NBCSN, CBC, RDS|
|*SAT, JUNE 9, 2012||8 PM||LOS ANGELES KINGS AT NEW JERSEY DEVILS||NBC, CBC, RDS|
|*MON, JUNE 11, 2012||8 PM||NEW JERSEY DEVILS AT LOS ANGELES KINGS||NBC, CBC, RDS|
|*WED, JUNE 13, 2012||8 PM||LOS ANGELES KINGS AT NEW JERSEY DEVILS||NBC, CBC, RDS|
To prepare you for the Finals, we will take a closer look at each of these two unlikely foes.
More after the jump…
LOS ANGELES KINGS:
The Road To The Stanley Cup Finals:
Regular Season: 40-27-15 (3rd in Pacific Division, 8th in Western Conference)
Round 1: Defeated #1 Vancouver Canucks in 5 games
Round 2: Defeated #2 St. Louis Blues in 4 games
Round 3: Defeated #3 Phoenix Coyotes in 5 games
RW Dustin Brown has been one of the big stories of the 2012 NHL playoffs. His questionable hit on Michal Rozsival during the Kings’ series with the Phoenix Coyotes was talked about all over the media. However, Brown has been contributing more than any other player on his team offensively. He averaged a point per game in the Phoenix series and leads the Kings in points with 16 in 14 games. A spirited effort from Brown in the Finals will certainly help the Kings in their effort to hoist the Stanley Cup.
G Jonathan Quick has carried his regular season success into the Stanley Cup playoffs. After being named a finalist for the Vezina award for his performance during the season, he now leads all NHL goaltenders in the playoffs in save-percentage (.946) and goals-against average (1.54). Obviously, he is tied in wins with Martin Brodeur with 12 victories. If Quick can stick to his game and continue his success, Quick may raise Lord Stanley in only his third full season in the NHL.
- The Kings went 0-2 in their season series against the Devils this year in which they were outscored 5-1.
- This is Los Angeles’ first appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals since 1992-93, when they ended up losing to the Montreal Canadiens.
- Since the Kings have been in the NHL since 1967 and they once employed Wayne Gretzky, you would think that they have at least one Stanley Cup, right? Wrong. The franchise has never won Lord Stanley and has only made it to the Cup Finals once.
- The Kings are 8-0 on the road in the playoffs. The Devils will need to beat them to stop that streak and get them off of their game.
- Although Los Angeles has been given the most chances on the power play with 74, they have only cashed in on 6 of them.
- Their penalty killing unit has been nothing short of spectacular. They have killed off 91.2% of their penalties and have scored five shorthanded goals.
- When the Kings traded Jack Johnson for Jeff Carter, many thought it may have been a mistake, but the trade has given Los Angeles more depth up front with Carter’s former teammate, Mike Richards. Anze Kopitar, Dustin Penner and Justin Williams have also been contributing offensively.
- Although the Kings lost Johnson, their defensemen have stepped up. Drew Doughty has been phenomenal with former Penguin, Rob Scuderi as his partner. The Kings’ penalty kill has been great mostly because of their goaltender, Jonathan Quick. If the defense can play well in front of Quick, expect the Kings to move on to the final dance.
- Dustin Brown will try to become the second American captain to win the Stanley Cup. He would be the first American to do that since Derian Hatcher did in 1999 with the Dallas Stars.
- Remember Simon Gagne, the former two-time All-Star with the Philadelphia Flyers? He signed with the Kings in July 2011, but has only played in 34 games with the team after sustaining his third concussion in the past five years. He has not played since he got the concussion and officially was cleared to practice with his teammates for the first time on Friday. It is not known if he will be in the lineup for the Finals, but adding a former 40 goal scorer to the Kings certainly won’t hurt.
Dustin Brown – Anze Kopitar – Justin Williams
Dustin Penner – Mike Richards – Jeff Carter
Dwight King – Jarret Stoll – Trevor Lewis
Brad Richardson – Colin Fraser – Jordan Nolan
Rob Scuderi – Drew Doughty
Willie Mitchell – Slava Voynov
Alec Martinez – Matt Greene
NEW JERSEY DEVILS:
The Road To The Stanley Cup Finals:
Regular Season: 48-28-6 (4th in Atlantic Division, 6th in Eastern Conference)
Round 1: Defeated #3 Florida Panthers in 7 games
Round 2: Defeated #5 Philadelphia Flyers in 5 games
Round 3: Defeated #1 New York Rangers in 6 games
LW Ilya Kovalchuk is starting to live up to all of the expectations that were placed on him when he signed his mega contract with he Devils. He leads all NHL postseason players in assists (11) and points (18). His play on special teams has been huge as he also leads the NHL with 5 goals on the power play. If Kovalchuk can continue to score and set up goals, he will be remembered as a hero in New Jersey if they win it all.
G Martin Brodeur is one of the youngest 40 year old goaltenders of all-time. Well, he certainly plays like it. After ten All-Star games, four Vezina trophies, and three Stanley Cups, Brodeur is still hungry for another championship. In the 2012 playoffs, Brodeur has been working his magic again with a 12-6 record, a .923 save-percentage, and a 2.04 goals-against average. It is not known if Brodeur will retire after the season or not, but a fourth Stanley Cup would certainly be a nice way to close his legendary career.
- The Devils went 2-0 in their season series against the Kings this year in which they outscored them 5-1.
- This is New Jersey’s first appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals since 2002-03, when they won it all against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
- Penguins fans will certainly see some familiar faces on this Devils team. Petr Sykora, Alexei Ponikarovsky, and Johan Hedberg all play for New Jersey. Sykora brings a great story in which he made a comeback to the NHL after only playing in 14 games in the league the past two seasons.
- Peter DeBoer is only in his first season as the head coach of the Devils.
- Zach Parise will try to become the second American captain to win the Stanley Cup. He would be the first American to do that since Derian Hatcher did in 1999 with the Dallas Stars.
- Adam Henrique has been clutch to say the least in the 2012 playoffs. The rookie has recorded 11 points in 18 games, including two game-winning goals.
- The Devils have converted 12 of 66 chances on the power play in the playoffs.
- New Jersey’s penalty killing unit has only killed 74.2% of their penalties, but they have been improving each series.
Zach Parise – Travis Zajac – Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky – Adam Henrique – Ilya Kovalchuk
Patrik Elias – Jacob Josefson – David Clarkson
Ryan Carter – Stephen Gionta – Steve Bernier
Bryce Salvador – Marek Zidlicky
Andy Greene – Mark Fayne
Anton Volchenkov – Peter Harrold