Stanley Cup Finals 2012: 6 Reasons Why the Series Is Not Over Yet
Two games into this year's edition of the Stanley Cup Final, the Los Angles Kings have taken a 2-0 lead and are in the driver's seat with the series shifting to L.A. While in some cases, that may spell doom, there is still hope for Devils fans out there.
Obviously, this is not an ideal situation for anyone rooting for New Jersey to lift the cup when all is said and done.
However, they certainly aren't going to go quietly into the night and call it a season. My guess would be that they'll claw their way back into the series or they'll die trying.
Here are a few reasons why it would be naive to think that this series is over.
The Devils Have Been Just as Good on the Road as They Have at Home
So far in this series, the Devils are 0-2 at home. Ask any fan of any sport that has series-style playoffs and they'll tell you that losing your first two home games is bad.
While they wouldn't necessarily be wrong, that doesn't make the Devils fish in a barrel.
The Devils' home record in the playoffs is 6-4. Their road record is (drum roll) 6-4, and it's not like they haven't been playing tough road games. They've won games at Florida, as well as in famously hostile Philadelphia and New York.
Obviously, they haven't had to travel cross-country so far this postseason, but this team is not going to lay down, especially with the cup on the line.
Expect the Devils to be foaming at the mouth to start Game 3, even if it is in L.A.
Both Games Have Gone into Overtime
It's not like the first two games of the series were blowouts. The Kings have outplayed the Devils so far, but not by much.
In Game 1, the Devils had two quality scoring chances in the extra period before Anze Kopitar scored on a breakaway. In Game 2, Ilya Kovalchuk rocked one off the cross bar with less than a minute left in regulation.
The Devils are not being dominated in any facet of the game. A couple of bounces here and there and we could be talking about how the Kings need to win their home games to get back to 2-2.
Jonathan Quick Could Come Down to Earth at Some Point
Jonathan Quick is practically a lock to win the Conn Smythe at this rate and for good reason.
In 16 games this postseason, Quick is 14-2 with a .947 save percentage and two shutouts. He has propelled the Kings' postseason run with his absolutely stellar play.
However, to expect him to be this brilliant in every game to come would be stupid. Even if he plays like a normal human one game, that could be enough for the Devils to get their foot in the door.
I'm not saying that I expect him to fall apart by any means, but because of the Kings' anemic scoring, if he gives up two goals in each of the next two games, this series could be tied heading back to Jersey.
The Devils Penalty Kill
I understand that once the playoffs start, regular season stats may as well go out the window. With that said, the Devils' penalty kill should be considered a strength of their team.
In the postseason, they rank 13th of all playoff teams in penalty kill with a 75.4 percent success rate, which is abysmal.
However, they did lead the league this season in penalty kill with a percentage of 89.6, a full point higher than second place Montreal. Couple that with the Kings' putrid power play percentage of eight percent (yes, eight), and the penalty kill could become a serious source of strength for the Devils
As I said, the playoffs are the ultimate "what have you done for me lately" situation in terms of statistical output, but the talent is there and we've seen the team succeed at it, so expect that number to go up.
Games 5 and 7 Would Be in New Jersey
If the series does go longer than four games, which I fully expect it will, two of the three games left will be played in New Jersey.
Obviously, recent wisdom has shown that the Devils are not invincible at The Rock this postseason, but you can't honestly tell me that if given the choice, anyone would want to play a deciding game on the road rather than in their own building.
As I pointed out before, the Devils have the same record at home as they do on the road this postseason, which I think speaks more to their adequacy away from their own arena, rather than their ineptitude at home.
Regardless of their record, if the series comes down to the Devils getting one favorable matchup on a line change, they could easily find themselves in position to win a couple games.
Martin Brodeur Is Still in Goal
As good as Jonathan Quick has been this postseason, it's not like Martin Brodeur is not a worthy adversary. Brodeur is a living legend and has put together a nice little postseason of his own.
Even though the Devils have lost both games so far, does anyone believe that Brodeur is the problem?
He's given up a whopping two goals in each game, both of the second goals coming in overtime. If the Devils are giving up one goal per game in regulation and still losing, it certainly isn't because of the goalkeeping.
The Kings must like their chances right now, but if the series comes down to a Game 7, Brodeur is just about the last person you want to see in front of the net if you are the Los Angeles Kings.