2012 Stanley Cup Finals Odds and Predictions – Los Angeles Kings vs New Jersey Devils Series Price and Picks: You have to love the Stanley Cup playoffs. Upsets are practically the norm rather than the exception, and every team that makes the postseason has a legitimate chance to bring home a championship. This year’s Stanley Cup finals are a perfect example of the parity that exists in the NHL playoffs. The eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings advanced out of the Western Conference, while the sixth-seeded New Jersey Devils went on a similar Cinderella run in the Eastern Conference. The two franchises have earned the right to play for a championship, and the only question that remains is which team will get to host Lord Stanley’s Cup.
When breaking down the series, it’s impossible not to start with the opposing goaltenders. Future first-ballot Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur has turned back the clock, posting a 2.04 goals against average and .923 save percentage in the postseason, and he looks every bit the goaltender that has led the Devils to three Stanley Cups in his career. Meanwhile, his Los Angeles counterpart Jonathan Quick has been nothing short of incredible. He has a 1.54 GAA in the postseason to go along with .946 save percentage. Quick has the hot hand, Brodeur has the experience, and both have questions to answer. Can Quick continue to carry the Kings on the biggest stage in the NHL? Can Brodeur continue to turn back the clock and keep up with Quick, who was just nine years old when Brodeur won his first Stanley Cup.
While strong goaltending has played a crucial role in the success of both teams, there will be plenty of offensive firepower on the ice, as well. For New Jersey, Illya Kovalchuk has been at the center of everything the Devils have done. He has seven goals and 11 assists and leads all scorers with 18 points during the playoffs. Kovalchuk has been particularly deadly on the power play, tallying five goals and eight points. If the Kings don’t keep Kovalchuk in check, they are going to have a tough time slowing down a New Jersey attack averaging 2.70 goals per game in the postseason.
Of course, Los Angeles can also the light the lamp and is averaging 2.85 goals per game in the postseason. The top line of Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams has done a majority of the damage. In the 14 games the Kings have played this postseason the trio has combined for a ridiculous 42 points and are plus-32 when on the ice. Brown and Kopitar can do their share of damage when it comes to disrupting opposing scorers, as well, making the Kings’ top line the most versatile in this series.
If the Devils are going to match the high-powered top line from Los Angeles, they will need scorers other than Kovalchuk to continue to excel. Zach Parise has been a steady contributor through the playoffs, scoring seven goals and assisting on seven more. Meanwhile, Travis Zajac has recovered from an injury just in time to be a big part of New Jersey’s playoff run. After managing just six points in the regular season, Zajac already has 12 points in the playoffs, including seven goals. The X-factor for the Devils could be David Clarkson. He has just three goals this postseason, but all three are game winners.
Despite being the No. 8 seed, Los Angeles rolled through the Western Conference with ease. After surviving a first-round scare, the Devils did the same in the Eastern Conference. These two teams weren’t the best during the regular season, but they caught fire at the right time. With a hot goalie and an explosive top line, the Kings definitely have a chance to bring the franchise its first Stanley Cup. However, the Devils have potent scorers on multiple lines and have been wearing down opponents with their physical play. Depth, experience and Brodeur’s will to win will allow New Jersey to outlast Quick and the Kings in what should be an entertaining finale to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Prediction: New Jersey Devils Win in 7 Games
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Los Angeles Kings vs New Jersey Devils Series Price
Los Angeles Kings -165
New Jersey Devils +145
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