The 2012 Stanley Cup Finals are set.
With Friday's 3-2 overtime victory in hand, the Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Devils have secured their chance to face the Western Conference's Los Angeles Kings in the NHL's title-deciding series.
The matchup is, indeed, arguably the most unlikely in league history—after all, No. 6 and No. 8 seeds have never before met in the cup final. But the talent and the storylines are no different, and the hockey world, once again, has a fantastic Stanley Cup Finals awaiting them.
The Kings, carried by the momentum an unparalleled 12-2 postseason record and a Conn Smythe-deserving run by goalie Jonathan Quick, seek to become the first No. 8 seed to ever win the cup. The only prior eighth-seeded team to make it to this point was the '05-'06 Edmonton Oilers, who eventually lost to the second-seeded Carolina Hurricanes.
On the other hand, New Jersey will hope to ride the experience of four-time cup winner Martin Brodeur in goal to become only the second team in 17 years to win the cup just one year after missing the playoffs.
However, loaded the intimidating likes of Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, Patrik Elias and ECF Game 7 winner Adam Henrique, this team is certainly much more potent than their prior struggles suggest.
Indubitably, the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals, slated to begin Wednesday with Game 1, will be an unforgettable series. But which team will walk away with the treasured 35-pound mug of silver this summer? Our predictions for how every game of the 2012 NHL title series will play out are in the coming slides.
Note: All predictions and projections in any of the coming slides are purely hypothetical calculations and are, at least for now, solely theoretical forecasts. They should not be considered factual. Conversely, all referenced statistics are accurate and real figures from the first three rounds of the playoffs.