The Los Angeles Kings have never raised Lord Stanley's Cup to the heavens since the franchise's inception in 1967, and little was expected of the L.A. squad this spring as a No. 8 seed squared off against the defending Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks.
And while New Jersey has lifted the greatest trophy in sports on three occasions since the 1994-95 campaign, the Devils were happy just to be back in the playoffs after missing the postseason for the first time in 13 seasons.
In short, a Finals scenario of the demons of Jersey invading the City of Angels for the Holy Grail was hardly envisioned.
Yet, the Kings sit just four games away from becoming the first No. 8 seed to ascend hockey's throne, while decorated goaltender Martin Brodeur looks to add a fourth Finals championship notch on his belt.
For L.A., the team has been spurred by the rejuvenated efforts of Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar, with the duo leading the roster in points in the playoffs. By knocking off the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in their quest for the championship, the Kings became just the second team in NHL history to accomplish this feat.
Not that the Devils' road to this juncture has been an easy endeavor, after taking care of business against the Florida Panthers and Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey faced their Hudson River foe, the New York Rangers. Despite the Rangers coming in as heavy favorites, the Devils out-toughed the Broadway Blueshirts to reach their first Final since 2003.
So who wins this battle of two of the rink's underdogs? According to the WhatIfSports.com hockey simulation engine, the Devils come out on top 53.6 percent of the time.
But as they Kings have proven this postseason, they don't mind playing the role of long-shot.