L.A. Kings vs. New Jersey Devils: Kings Will Continue March to Stanley Cup

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJune 2, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - MAY 30:  Zach Parise #9 of the New Jersey Devils collides with Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings during Game One of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Prudential Center on May 30, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Kings will end the 2012 season with the Stanley Cup, and there's very little the New Jersey Devils can do about it.

Sometimes, a team has destiny on their side, and it seems that the Los Angeles Kings are just one of those teams.

The Kings began their unlikely playoff run as an eighth seed but have looked like the No. 1 seed from the very outset of these playoffs.

The Kings have dominated on their way to a Stanley Cup Final berth, losing a mere two games in their first three series. The Devils have been a surprise story in their own right, emerging out of the East as a sixth-seed, but they haven't been nearly as dominant. The Devils needed seven games to get out of the first round against the Florida Panthers.

The Kings outworked the Devils to take a hard-fought lead in Game 1 of the series, when star Anze Kopitar scored the game-winning goal in overtime. The road to victory for the Kings to open up the series comes as no surprise, as they remained undefeated on the road in these playoffs.

With the Kings' dominance on the road, the Devils must be able to travel to L.A. and regain the home-ice advantage—which is no easy task. L.A. has been pretty unstoppable at home too.

Surprisingly, the greatest advantage the Kings may have is at goalie. When the opposing team has a future Hall of Famer in goal, it isn't common to claim the advantage. However, the Kings can make that claim. The "hot goalie" is one of the most key figures in all of playoff sports, and there are no hotter goalies right now than Jonathan Quick.

Squaring off against the great Martin Brodeur, Quick was the true star of Game 1. Brodeur was stellar as usual. His 23 saves and .920 save percentage would generally be enough to pick up the win, but not against these Kings—not against Quick.

Quick was stellar in Game 1, saving 17 shots with a .944 save percentage. The Kings have come to rely on these kind of performances from Quick. He carries a 13-2 record in these playoffs thanks to his 1.49 GAA with 424 saves and two shutouts.

When a goalie comes into the series so hot, there's not much that you can do.

The Devils have been tasked with stopping a red-hot team led by a red-hot goalie. Having lost Game 1 in New Jersey, they aren't off to a great start. But sometimes, you just can't stop destiny.


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