The matchup for the Stanley Cup Finals is set. One team is the Los Angeles Kings. They snuck into the final playoff spot with an impressive run late in the regular season, upset the Vancouver Canucks in the 1st round, swept the #1 seeded St. Louis Blues in round 2, and made quick work of the Phoenix Coyotes in the Western Conference Finals in 5 games. Their success, mainly comes from their ability to win games on the road. The Kings are 8-0 on the road in this year's playoffs and show no signs of slowing down.
On the other side, is the New Jersey Devils. The Devils struggled in the early part of the regular season, then poured it on during the home stretch and clinched the 6th seed in the playoffs. They got past the Florida Panthers in 7 games in round 1, then knocked out the Flyers in 5 in round 2, before beating their arch rivals the New York Rangers in 6 in the Eastern Conference Finals. Their success came from their ability to recieve contributions from unlikely heroes. Players like Ryan Carter and Adam Henrique, who began the season in the minor leagues, are making a name for themselves during this playoff run.
Bottom line, the series will come down to the Kings speed against the Devils strength. The Kings are led by a talented group consisting of Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson, and Mike Richards. The Devils have an impressive group of players as well. Patrick Elias, Brian Gionta, Dainus Zubrus, and Colin White have numerous years of playoff experience, and young guns like Travis Zajac and Zac Parise will be interesting to watch.
One of the key matchups is the goaltenders. Jonathan Quick has been a stud in goal for the Kings and has been their saving grace during their playoff run. Martin Brodeur, who has been there, done that for the Devils, is looking for another Stanley Cup to add to his already cemented Hall of Fame resume.
This is the Devils 5th appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals. They swept Detroit in 1995, beat Dallas in 6 games in 2000, lost to Colorado in 7 in 2001, and beat Anaheim in 7 in 2003. They'll be looking for their 4th Stanley Cup victory.
The Kings, on the other hand, are making just their 2nd appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals. Their only other appearance ended with a bitter defeat in 5 games at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens in 1993.
Bottom Line: This should be a fun and exciting Stanley Cup Finals as two teams go head-to-head for hockey's holy grail.