Who will win the 2014 Stanley Cup Final? In how many games?
I lean toward the Kings, though I think it's going to be a more competitive series than many are expecting. I'll say seven games, which would put the Kings' playoffs at an incredible 28 contests.
The biggest surprise will be...
Rick Nash's goal-scoring coming alive in the fourth round. He's been kicked around for not producing more, having scored just three times on 65 shots. Jonathan Quick is struggling, and at some point the pucks have to go in; if it weren't for the fact he'll see a lot of Kopitar, I'd say he'd be the Rangers' offensive leader in the Final.
The biggest disappointment will be...
Marian Gaborik's goal-scoring drying up in the fourth round. That isn't a slight to Gaborik, who has been exceptional, but a simple acknowledgement of the fact that he's scored on 18.5 percent of his shots through three rounds and Henrik Lundqvist is the first elite goaltender he's seen all playoffs.
Who will have the better series: Jonathan Quick or Henrik Lundqvist?
Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist has proven over his rather lengthy NHL career that he's a better goaltender than Quick. Anything can happen over seven games, but given a choice between the hot goalie with the superior long-term track record and the cold goalie with the inferior career numbers, the former is the obvious pick.
Who will win the 2014 Conn Smythe Trophy?
Anze Kopitar. Kopitar is full value right now, and he's likely facing the easiest matchup in the fourth round that he's seen over the entire postseason. A nice scoring run in the Final should push him over the top.