NHL Playoffs 2012: Surging L.A. Kings Will Make Short Work of New Jersey Devils

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IMay 26, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - MAY 22:  Willie Mitchell #33, Anze Kopitar #11 and goaltender Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrate the Kings 4-3 overtime victory against the Phoenix Coyotes in Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena on May 22, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Kings have been thrashing opponents in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs and will keep the theme alive in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Devils.

The Kings have just two losses through 14 playoff games this spring, wrapping up each of their three Western Conference playoff series quickly, leaving little doubt while taking commanding 3-0 series leads each time. 

The No. 8-seeded Kings have defied the odds to make it all the way to the finals, but they look far and away the team to beat now after having shut down three quality teams, including Presidents' Trophy-winner Vancouver in the first round.

L.A. goalie Jonathan Quick has been the Kings' MVP this postseason. Quick allowed just eight goals in five games against the Phoenix Coyotes in the Western Conference finals, and he's allowed just 22 goals total in 14 playoff games in 2012. Quick has also been clutch late in close games. L.A. is 2-0 in overtime games this postseason, both closeout games on the road. 

It is his presence in net that makes this series so one-sided. Often times, it is a hot goaltender that leads a team to the promised land in hockey. Tim Thomas was the man last summer for the Boston Bruins, and now Quick looks to be doing it for the Kings this time around. 

On the other side of the ice, Devils goalie Martin Brodeur has allowed 37 goals in 18 games. The advantage goes to Quick without question in this series, considering that you can't win if you can't score.

New Jersey will struggle to score goals, just as all of L.A.'s opponents have this postseason. Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise, New Jersey's top two point scorers in these playoffs, won't be as effective against a defense as stiff as L.A.'s and a goalie as confident as Quick.

L.A. has plenty of firepower of its own with Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar leading the way. There is little pressure on the Kings to put up big goal tallies when they have a dependable teammate in net. As the game and eventually the series wears on, the Kings will begin to separate themselves from the Devils. 

They've been the class of the NHL this postseason, and that will continue to be the case for the road warrior L.A. Kings through the Stanley Cup Finals.

Kings in five. 

Follow Patrick Clarke on Twitter for more on the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter

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