TCL Predicts The Stanley Cup Final

 

2012 Stanley Cup Final
New Jersey Devils vs. Los Angeles Kings
 
 
Every year, we predict, we project, we try to come up with logical conclusions to what's going to happen in the latest NHL season. Everyone has their opinions, everyone comes up with their own regular season and playoff winners, their own Final, their own Stanley Cup Champions. Usually, those predictions end up being wrong. Sure, you might get lucky with a high seed, but if the playoffs prove anything year-in and year-out, it's that the National Hockey League is absolutely unpredictable.
 
This season has ramped that up to a degree we've never seen before. To give you a brief summary, the first round saw most of the favorites eliminated, including the defending champion Bruins, regular season champion Canucks, the perennial favorite Sharks, and the three prior cup winning teams, the Blackhawks, Penguins and Red Wings. Round 2 saw the Kings sweep the new favorites in the Blues, and the Coyotes and Devils making quick work of the Coyotes and Flyers, respectively, before the Capitals took the Rangers to seven games. People were quick (pun intended) to jump on the Kings' bandwagon after that and with a 5-game win over the Coyotes in the West final, but the Devils once again beat the odds, taking out the Rangers in six games to win the East.
 
So, here we are. Two unlikely conference winners, two teams that no one thought of in their predictions, a sixth seed and that dreaded eighth seed that never won the Cup. On one side, a team that had a lot of success a decade ago, but has struggled with an archaic defensive system ever since, only to be rejuvenated with offense and a fresh run from legendary goaltender Marty Brodeur this past year. On the other side of the rink, a team that has been waiting since expansion for their Stanley Cup, and since 1993 to get back to the final. A team with a young goalie reminiscent of the younger version of the other guy, a deep line-up of skaters, and understated coach on a mission.  
 
You're going to see a lot of predictions favoring the Kings below (in fact, all of them favor the Kings), but this one might be closer than you think. Whatever the case may be, and as unlikely as this match-up might seem, both these teams earned their spot in the final, and if they win, they will have earned their names on Lord Stanley's coveted trophy.
Unanimous Consensus: Los Angeles Kings in 6 (from 15 TCL Writers).
 
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How They Got Here
New Jersey Devils: 7-game Win vs. Panthers, 5-game win vs. Flyers6-game win vs. Rangers.
 
Schedule:
Game 1: Wed. May 30 at 8PM in New Jersey
Game 2: Sat. June 2 at 8PM in New Jersey
Game 3: Mon. June 4 at 8PM in Los Angeles
Game 4: Wed. June 6 8PM in Los Angeles
Game 5: Sat. June 9 at 8PM in New Jersey (if necessary)
Game 6: Mon. June 11 at 8PM in Los Angeles (if necessary)
Game 7: Wed. June 13 at 8PM in New Jersey (if necessary)
*All Puckdrops are in Eastern Standard Time*
 
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Kings Perspective
 
 
Ty Fisher - Kings in 6
Read Ty's full Stanley Cup preview and his thoughts on the series here.
 
Shane Brennan - Kings in 5
Kings continue their roll by winning both games in the lovely city of Newark and head back to L.A. up 2-0. I think the Devils really need to win the first game if they have a chance to win. The Kings will be the fresher team with the longer break in between the Conference Finals and the SCF and playing less games in general. Great story with Brodeur vs. Quick - old school vs. new generation; proven vs. determined; so on and so forth. The games will be tight but wouldn't be suprised to see a couple of games with a decent amount of scoring due to both team's depth. Devils steal game 3 in L.A. and drop the next two to finish the series. Anze Kopitar scores two game-winners and wins the Conn Smythe trophy.
 
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Prax's Perspective

The 2005-06 Edmonton Oilers are the only 8th seed to ever make it to the Stanley Cup Final. They were a relative garbage team (for a team that made the finals anyway). The Los Angeles Kings are not garbage. That may sound like a silly reason to pick a team to win the Stanley Cup, but at this point, it seems like destiny. The Kings have made short work of just about every team they've faced in these playoffs, and as we know about the competitive west, they probably aren't a "true" 8th seed, only two points behind the Phoenix Coyotes they defeated to get here for the Pacific Division title at the end of the regular season. It only seems fitting that the Kings be the team that makes history at this point, and with the post-season they had, they would have earned it.

The Devils aren't a team that should be taken for granted of course, and that might seem like a funny thing to say with more than a dozen predictions unanimously rooting for the Kings right here at TCL. But they had a contentious route to the final as well, playing the underdog in three (now four) series. The Kings' trip to the final may have been unlikely, but I'm still trying to figure out how the Devils got here, with a senior citizen between the pipes, a defense corps that's either always injured or under-performing, and the quietest collection of talented forwards in the league. But that makes the Devils more dangerous, and the fact that no one's picking them to win is a nightmare for the Kings.

I can't in good conscience be the one person who picks the Devils, but this series might be tighter than the predictions show. Jonathan Quick has dominated the goaltending statistics in these playoffs, but history has proven to us that Marty Brodeur should never be counted out. Ilya Kovalchuk is the highest scoring player in 17 games. But both teams have been scoring by committee and have managed to hide their deficiencies with good team play. The Kings may be the popular choice, but if these playoffs have proven anything, it's that anything can happen. And whatever happens, it'll likely be in 7 games.
 
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Around The Checking Line
 
 
Featured Writer - Andy Veilleux
This is going to be a tight battle from the beginning. The LA Kings have the advantage with goaltending, and their defensive game is slightly better than LA. The NJ offense is stronger, but not enough to be the game-changing factor. In the end, LA will be led by their clutch players and hard-hitting, defensive style.
Prediction: Kings in 7
 
Featured Writer - Hockeybroad

The Kings were built to start making serious runs starting this year; after a solid season, they've taken off in the post-season. Dispatching each series opponent early has allowed them rest at a vital time of year. The Kings have players like Jeff Carter and Colin Fraser, who played against each other in the 2010 SCF; and a bunch of young, hungry players. The Kings have depth and a style of play that reminds me of the 2010 Blackhawks. Additionally, they've great on the road, and that's especially important in the SCF - and since they're used to long travel throughout their season, one would expect the Kings to be less affected by the travel and time differences, especially when playing on the West coast.

The Devils are able to roll 4 lines, also, but they've had to work a lot harder to get to the SCF. The Devils, on average, are 3 years older than the Kings. This will either give them more drive to win the Cup or the Kings will skate circles around them.
Either way, there's so many interesting storylines in this year's SCF. It would be particularly rewarding to see the Kings - who've never won it in their 40+ year history - to win it. And it'll definitely be an epic goalie battle - the guy who holds all the records (Brodeur) vs the next generation.
Prediction: Kings in 6
 
Featured Writer - Jordan Kuhns

The Kings dismantled every single opponent they faced with strong defensive play, calculated breakouts, and tremendous goaltending from Jonathan Quick. The Kings do need to fix some things if they are to win this series. Jeff Carter must play up to task and be a consistent goal scoring threat. As of right now, he has four goals, and three of them came in one game. Secondly, Quick needs to regain a little traction. He didn't seem as confident in the last few games of the conference finals. LA possesses 4 deadly forward lines and 3 deadly defensive pairs that do not stray from their identities.

New Jersey has surprised many with their aggressive forecheck. Marty Brodeur showed signs of aging in round one, but he has completely rebounded in every game since. It would be quite a way to go out for him at the age of 40. The only thing Patrick Roy would have over Brodeur is a Stanley Cup victory over him in 2001. Parise, Kovalchuk and Henrique will have to come up just as big as they have been all Spring long. Can they complete the run? The series will like on breakouts and goaltending. Capitalizing on turnovers just may be the ultimate key.
Prediction: Kings in 6
 
Featured Writer - Newman
The Kings will win their first Stanley Cup and it will be because of the man they call Jonathan Quick. He has been the main difference during the Kings run and he is better, at this moment in time, then the Marty Brodeur. The Kings road winning streak will end and I think a split in the first two games is highly likely. Darryl Sutter gets his cup. The one he should have had in 2004 with the Flames...(sigh)
Prediction: Kings in 6
 
Featured Writer - Rob McGowan

Now I am not picking LA just because they have been the dominant team in the Western Conference in this year's playoffs. Actually, picking LA goes against my beliefs. There is usually an bottom seeded team that makes a run to the Cup. In recent years we can look at the Edmonton Oilers, Philadelphia Flyers, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, etc. But usually those teams end up loosing the Cup because they ended up just being over-achievers that came together at the right time, allowing them to lose to the other team that had been the most consistent all year. However, the Kings are different. They are not an 8th seed that squeaked into the post-season; had they earned another two points they would have tied Phoenix for the division lead. This is a team that was strong over the second half of the season and has continued that type of play into the playoffs.

The Devils are team that I did not expect to make it the finals. But they have managed to win some pretty close games and have upset the New York Rangers in six games. Marty Brodeur still competes with the best of them, but I think Jonathan Quick will be the better net-minder in this series. I also feel that L.A.'s offense and willing to bang along the boards will continue to burn the Devils out. NJ will put up a spirited fight, but L.A. will be too much for them to handle and will finally win their first Stanley Cup.
Prediction: Kings in 6
 
Chuck Gaston Jr.
There are two things that a team needs in the Stanley Cup playoffs. 1. Timely Scoring 2. Timely Goaltending. The LA Kings have both this season. No team has answered oppositions goals faster than the LA kings. They have a fine young leaders that do not fold under pressure. They get under your skin, match your speed, and drain you with an unreal cycle game. The Devils have been great in their own right, but LA has done something no team has ever done, taken out the 1, 2, and 3 seed in a row. The young stud Jonathan Quick will win a Conn Smythe as LA and Darryl Sutter both finally win a Stanley Cup.
Prediction: Kings in 6
David Collins:
Simply put, the Los Angeles Kings are on a roll, and the New Jersey Devils are not the team that will stop them. This is an interesting match-up, because both teams have similar philosophies in that they each play all four lines, and all three defensive pairings, with complete faith in each of them. Not only that, but who doesn't love a good goaltending battle? There is no reason to believe one of Brodeur or Quick couldn't be the deciding factor in who wins this series, and while Martin Brodeur is arguably the greatest of all time, I will say with complete confidence that Jonathan Quick is the better goaltender right now. One of the main reasons the Devils overcame the New York Rangers was that they threw them off their game late in the series, and I don't see that happening with the Los Angeles Kings. They have been focused since Game One against the Canucks, and will go toe-to-toe with anything the Devils throw at them. This is going to be one of the roughest and grittiest series in these playoffs, and we're in for a wild ride. Every game should be very close, but I expect the Kings to get the better of the Devils in just five games to be crowned this years Stanley Cup Champions.
Prediction: Kings in 5
 
John Russo: 
The Kings have the better scorer (Anze Kopitar), better defenseman (Drew Doughty) and the better goalie (Jon Quick). They also knocked off all three division winners on their way to their first Cup finals in almost two decades. Mike Richards is a winner so expect him to have an incredible finals for LA. For the Devils, Zach Parise has been having a phenomenal post season, adding more zeroes to his next contract this off season. Ilya Kovalchuk has been playing his butt off as well, chasing his first Cup in his illustrious career. Martin Brodeur is looking to win his fourth Cup in three different decades. Devils play a tight defensive game and it will allow them to steal a game but this is LA's post season, their destiny and it will be their Cup to hoist.
Prediction: Kings in 5
 
Kim Pollock:
Both of these teams have been a surprise since the start of the playoffs. They've both been impressive, but Los Angeles has been more so. Quick and Brown have been huge factors for the Kings so far and it's going to be a great series for the both of them. The Kings' road record is going to be a huge factor in this series. They've got an edge over the Devils in practically every way, and they'll reign victorious. New Jersey won't make it easy for the Kings to reach the ultimate prize, but in the end, it's going to be LA who raises the cup.
Prediction: Kings in 6
 
Maggie Avila:
With 4 fewer games played than the Devils I think LA will have more stamina in the end. Couple that with their physical style of play i think will be too much for NJ. LA has rolled every opponent so far & i dont see that changing now. They are on a mission & their depth is too strong.
Prediction: Kings in 5
 
Nick Symon:
The 2012 Stanley Cup Champions will be the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings have been the only team in these playoffs that have brought it night in and night out and have shown Stanley Cup winning credentials. I have liked what I have seen from Ilya Kovalchuk and the Devils but they have been a little too inconsistent. The Kings size and Jonathan Quick between the pipes will be the difference as the Kings will take home the Cup in five games. Dustin Brown will continue to lead by example and win the Conns Smythe.
Prediction: Kings in 5

 

2 Comments

George Prax's picture

You guys realize unanimously picking the Kings means they're going to lose, right?

John Russo's picture

Dude I just noticed that. CRAZY!