Stanley Cup Finals 2012: What to Look for in Kings vs. Devils Game 6
After the Los Angeles Kings won the first three games of the Stanley Cup Finals after plowing through the Western Conference, most people, including me, had already given the Kings the Stanley Cup.
Now it is time for Game 6 after the Devils won two in a row to make it a series. The series is back in Los Angeles, where the Devils won Game 4, 4-0.
The Kings will be out to win the Cup in front of their hometown fans and to avoid having to go back to New Jersey for a decisive Game 7.
Game 6 will be a good one, with good matchups and talking points throughout the game. Here are five things to be looking for in Game 6.
No. 1. Martin Brodeur vs. Jonathan Quick
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It is a battle of the young vs. the old. Both Brodeur and Quick have been outstanding in this series.
Look for that to continue in Game 6.
The 40-year-old Brodeur has stood on his head the last two games, stopping 46 of 48 shots. He has played the puck well and kept his team in games throughout the series.
Quick has been just as good. In his first Stanley Cup Final series, he has recorded one shutout and won two overtime games in which he allowed only one goal.
Going into Game 4, Quick was the front runner for the Conn Smythe trophy, which goes to the MVP of the playoffs. Despite the last two games, if the Kings are able to win Game 6, Quick will probably win it.
Look for these two goalies to have another stellar game.
No. 2. Fast Start
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Annalists often say the first 10 minutes and the last 10 minutes of the game are the most important. This is especially the case for the road team (Devils) in Game 6. For both teams, it is vitally important to have a fast start.
Possibly the most telling stat of the finals so far is the team that scores first has won every game of the series. Both teams will know this and will be looking to do everything they can to stay out in front.
Look for the way each team starts the game and who is on the attack for the first 10 minutes, as they will most likely be the team that wins.
No. 3. Faceoffs
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Another stat to look for is which team wins the most faceoffs. The team that has won the most faceoffs in each game is 5-0 in the series.
In the first three games, the Devils were beaten soundly on faceoffs, winning just a combined 81 of 180. That changed in Games 4 and 5 in which the Devils won 62 faceoffs compared to the Kings' 55.
Winning more faceoffs will allow one of the two teams to get an edge in the game and have a lot more possession time than the other, allowing them to get more chances.
Keep track of which centers are playing well and winning faceoffs. In all likelihood, the team who wins the majority of the faceoffs will win Game 6.
No. 4. Power Play
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The power play has been something interesting to watch in the Stanley Cup Finals. Neither team has done that well on the power play, with the Kings converting on three of 13 attempts and the Devils converting on just one of 15 chances.
The Devils won Game 5, the only game in which they had a power-play goal. With both goalies playing as well as they have been, getting extra chances and converting on them will be huge in Game 6.
Look to see which team has the most chances and what they do with them. The team that scores on the power play will most likely win the game.
No. 5. Patrik Elias vs. Anze Kopitar
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The two centers have been playing well, but Anze Kopitar has been playing extremely well. He has two goals, two assists and a plus-two rating.
Kopitar has not scored in two games, but he has registered an assist and solid ice time. Look for him to try and step up his game in front of the home crowd as he tries to win the Cup. Along with Quick, Kopitar is one of the favorites to win the Conn Smythe trophy.
Patrik Elias has one goal and one assist to go with his plus-two rating. Of all the big names on the New Jersey side, he has played the best and is the only one with a positive plus/minus rating.
Elias has been a vital part in the Devils' comeback in the series. Look for him to have a good game. He has to if the Devils want to keep their season alive.
These two will face off in the center circle a few times, and both will look to have the best game of their series. It should be a good matchup to watch.