NHL Playoffs 2012: Breaking Down Potential Stanley Cup Final Matchups

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NHL Playoffs 2012: Breaking Down Potential Stanley Cup Final Matchups
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Vezina Candidates and NHL All-Stars Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles Kings) and Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers) look to move on to a Stanley Cup Final.

Hockey scholars posed two questions after the first games of the Western and Eastern Conference finals.

The Phoenix Coyotes failed to answer the first: Can any team slow down the Kings? Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick shut out the Coyotes in Game 2 while forward Jeff Carter tripled his postseason goal production with a hat trick.

The New Jersey Devils answered the second: Can any Devil player score on Henrik Lundqvist? Indeed. Devils' forward Ilya Kovalchuk sent a wicked wrister over the glove side shoulder of Lundqvist to open the scoring of a 3-2 New Jersey victory in Game 2.

The Kings are hotter than Kate Upton's last photo shoot, losing only one playoff game in 11 tries and outscoring the snake-bitten Coyotes 7-2 through the first two games of the Western Conference finals.

Many considered the Rangers a favorite to lift the Cup before the puck even dropped on the 2012 NHL Playoffs. Despite a postseason littered with bad losses, the Rangers remain a favorite to move on to the East vs. West showdown.

A Rangers vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final seems almost hard not to imagine at this juncture. However, in the words of award-winning country musician Darius Rucker, "Anything's possible."

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