Kings vs. Devils: Players We're Most Excited to See in Stanley Cup Final

Amy StreiferCorrespondent IMay 28, 2012

Kings vs. Devils: Players We're Most Excited to See in Stanley Cup Final

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    The New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings will face off on Wednesday night to kick off the final round of the NHL playoffs in the race for the Stanley Cup.

    Both teams have impact players that should be exciting to watch in the final. A couple of standout players include 40-year-old Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur and Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, who has undeniably been the best goaltender in the postseason.

    Here's a few players that we're excited to see compete for the Stanley Cup.

Ilya Kovalchuk

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    Ilya Kovalchuk has been on fire in the playoffs thus far and he is one of the biggest threats to the Los Angeles Kings in the final round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    Kovalchuk currently leads the NHL in the postseason with 18 points. In 17 games played, Kovalchuk has seven goals and 11 assists.

    The left winger also finds himself in a rare situation.

    When the Devils signed Kovalchuk in 2010 for 15 years and $100 million, it was decided shortly after he turned down an offer from the Kings for $80 million over 15 years. Kovalchuk will face the team he turned down, and for his sake, let's hope he made the right decision.

Dustin Brown

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    Dustin Brown has helped his team significantly in the playoffs thus far. In 14 games, Brown has seven goals and nine assists. The quick-handed right winger has a powerful slap shot and knows how to carry his team on his back when it matters most.

    If Brown wants to continue to help his team on the way to the Stanley Cup, he'll have to try and make sure he doesn't commit penalties.

    Brown currently has 24 penalty minutes and needs to avoid them at all costs against the Devils, who have one of the best power-play units in the league.

Martin Brodeur

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    Martin Brodeur may be 40 years old, but his age doesn't show when he's on the ice defending the net for the New Jersey Devils. Brodeur and L.A. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick both have 12 wins in the postseason, but Brodeur has something that Quick doesn't have: a Stanley Cup.

    As a matter of fact, Brodeur has three Stanley Cups from the 1995, 2000 and 2003 championships.

    If Brodeur performs the way that he's capable, he should be able to clinch a Stanley Cup victory for the Jersey team. So far in the postseason, Brodeur has a .923 save percentage and 2.04 GAA.

    There have been constant rumors about Brodeur's retirement, but one has to wonder if he'd want to retire when he's essentially at the top of his game. Brodeur hasn't been to the Stanley Cup since 2003, when the Devils beat the Ducks in seven.

Jonathan Quick

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    When Jonathan Quick was nine years old, Martin Brodeur was holding up the Stanley Cup for the first time in a Devils jersey. Quick is now 26 years old and will be competing against Brodeur in the final round of the NHL playoffs.

    Quick has has an unbelievable postseason with a 12-2 record, a playoff-leading 1.54 GAA and a .946 save percentage. 

    The Kings goaltender led the NHL with 10 shutouts this season, and in the past three seasons he's won 109 games. It should be exciting to see by far the best goaltender in the postseason take on one of the best goaltenders of all time in Martin Brodeur.

    Age won't be a factor in the final round. This round it will all be about determination and the desire to win the cup.

Ryan Carter

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    Ryan Carter may not be the first standout player that comes to mind when you think about the New Jersey Devils' capabilities on offense, but Carter has changed the game for the Devils during the playoffs. Carter allows Kovalchuk and Parise to take a break while he, Stephen Gionta and Steve Bernier form a dangerous fourth line.

    Carter had two game-winning goals in the playoffs, four in total. He also combined for two assists and 23 hits. With Carter and the rest of the fourth line succeeding, the Devils should feel assured they have a very good chance at winning the cup.

    In 72 regular-season games, Carter scored just four goals, so his explosion in the postseason is unexpected. If he stays consistent, he will be a threat to Los Angeles.

Anze Kopitar

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    Anze Kopitar has six goals and nine assists in the postseason. The 24-year-old from Slovenia was only the second person from his country to make the NHL, and he's helped out the Kings tremendously since the playoffs have started.

    Kopitar knows how to control the puck, is great on the penalty kill and has an eye for making great passes.

    So far in the postseason, Kopitar already has two short-handed goals, and if the Devils were to commit a penalty, he wouldn't waste any time before he took shots on net and put pressure on Brodeur. Kopitar just adds to the list of dangerous players on the Kings squad that could spell trouble for the New Jersey Devils' surging offense.