Stanley Cup Finals Schedule 2012: Players to Watch in Game 2

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistJune 2, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - MAY 30:  Drew Doughty #8 of the Los Angeles Kings fights for position against Zach Parise #9 of the New Jersey Devils during Game One of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Prudential Center on May 30, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

If Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals is any indication, we should get to see some great hockey in Game 2.

Getting a win at home will be pivotal for the Devils. While it will take a great team effort from them to secure a victory, there are individual players from both teams that will determine this game.

Here are the two most important players for each team and how they can determine the outcome.


New Jersey Devils

Zach Parise, LW

What the Devils will need most to claim a victory in Game 2 will be goals. Given the proficiency that the Kings defense has played with throughout the playoffs, scoring is easier said than done.

Parise showed that he can be a factor in Game 1, as he led the Devils in shots on goal with three. Unfortunately for the Kings, Parise was unable to convert on any of them. If the Devils hope to cool down the red-hot Kings, he will need to step up his game in Game 2 and convert on his attempts.

Parise has the ability to be a scorer. He is tied for the team lead with seven goals in this postseason and scored 31 in the regular season. If Parise can find a way to score a goal for the Devils, they will have the Kings on their heels. If he gets shutout once again, it could be a long night.


Martin Brodeur, G

NEWARK, NJ - MAY 30:  Martin Brodeur #30 of the New Jersey Devils tends goal against the Los Angeles Kings during Game One of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Prudential Center on May 30, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Image
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The goalie is perhaps the most important position in all of playoff sports. Teams can ride a hot one all the way to a championship, while a slumping goalie can completely submarine his team's chances.

Brodeur hasn't played awful by any means, but he will need to show why he is considered one of the greatest goalies of all-time in Game 2—and beyond—if the Devils hope to have a prayer in this series. The fact is that the Kings have the hotter goalie coming into this series (more on that later on). It will take all of Brodeur's skill to keep the Devils in Game 2 and the rest of the series.


Los Angeles Kings

Anze Kopitar, C

For the Kings, it isn't a matter of players needing to step up, it's just a matter of sustaining what they have already done.

Kopitar has been a breakthrough star in these playoffs, as he has led the underdog Kings all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. Kopitar scored the game-winning goal in overtime in Game 1, and the Kings will once again depend on him to get some offense going in Game 2.

Kopitar has seven goals in these playoffs and is also responsible for nine assists. So he has really been a catalyst for this team throughout the playoffs. He should look to continue to the best player in this series in Game 2.


Jonathan Quick, G

The unquestioned MVP of the NHL playoffs thus far has to be Quick. The man has been an absolute wall for the Kings, and he makes them nearly unbeatable.

Quick's numbers speak for themselves. A 1.49 GAA, .946 SV% and 13-2 record with two shutouts makes Quick the hands-down hottest goalie in the league. Taking on a future Hall of Famer like Brodeur is a tough task, but Quick showed that he was up to it Game 1, when he had 17 saves while only allowing one goal.

If the games continue to be low scoring, defensive affairs, then Quick will be counted on to keep his elite-level play throughout the series.