Stanley Cup Finals: Reasons Why the LA Kings Will End This Series Early

Gerard GilbertoContributor IIIJune 4, 2012

Stanley Cup Finals: Reasons Why the LA Kings Will End This Series Early

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    The Los Angeles Kings have already made Quick work of the three best teams in the Western Conference in these playoffs. 

    Now that the Kings are dragging the New Jersey Devils out to L.A. with a 2-0 series lead, it seems this 'winning' thing isn't a trend that is going away.

    There are many ways New Jersey can come back in this series.  Nobody should ever count out a team that is good enough to make it all the way to the championship game. 

    But the Kings have not given opposing teams much hope in these playoffs.

    Here are a few key reasons why this Stanley Cup final may not last past Wednesday.

Home Ice Advantage

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    Everybody following the playoffs knows that the big story has been all about LA's perfect road record. 

    But for the well-traveled Kings, the trip out to Los Angeles to play at home plays greatly in their favor. 

    The reason the long plane ride home is going to help the Kings is the fact that the Devils have not traveled very far in these playoffs, facing off against local teams in the past two rounds.  The last time New Jersey needed a plane ride to a game was on April 26 for Game 7 of the first round against the Florida Panthers.

    The Kings, who already have thousands of miles under their belt in these playoffs, know how to win games when living out of their suitcases.  Meanwhile, the Devils have not even needed to reset their watches in four months. 

    The last time the team left the Eastern Standard Time Zone was on January 14 for a game against Winnepeg.

The Los Angeles Penalty Kill

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    The Devils, despite being down 0-2, are actually giving the Kings the most amount of trouble they've needed to handle in these playoffs.  In fact, they're playing close to their A-game and New Jersey's work on the forecheck has been something to be admired. 

    However, the Kings have found a way to completely shut down one facet of the Devils' game that has been instrumental to their success in the playoffs.

    In six opportunities, the Devils have not yet scored on the power play in the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals. 

    Nine of New Jersey's 12 wins in the playoffs have included a power play goal.

Flying High

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    It's no secret that momentum plays a big role in the playoffs. 

    The bad news for New Jersey is that momentum belongs to the Kings.  Los Angeles has only lost two games in the playoffs and is still firing on all cylinders.

    The Devils are starting to see how powerful momentum can be.  LA is not playing the Stanley Cup final as well as they played in the first three rounds.  It's going to be tough to imagine a Kings team that has it all together losing a game this series.

Jonathan Quick

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    Jonathan Quick has had his games where he has been heavily tested, as well as his games where he wasn't heavily relied on. 

    The fact of the matter is that the backbone of this Los Angeles team has been absolutely phenomenal in these playoffs.

    His anorexic 1.44 goals against average has kept the Kings in games throughout these playoffs, but the Devils' strong forecheck will force the Kings to rely heavily on Quick for the rest of the series. 

    If Quick can play as well as he has all year, this series is going to end mighty fast.

    Quick's greatness has some putting his name in contention for the Conn Smythe Trophy, which goes to the MVP of the playoffs.

Dustin Brown

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    Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown has played well enough in these playoffs to also be considered for the Conn Smythe trophy.  Brown is tied with teammate Anze Kopitar for points and goals in the playoffs, but has provided a sense of leadership that every team needs during a championship run.

    Brown has continued to prove to his team that he deserves to wear the 'C' on his jersey.  He has even lead this team physically, taking on more penalty minutes than everybody on the club, with the exception of winger Dustin Penner

    The Kings can afford to be more aggressive because of their hard work on the penalty kill. 

    By taking a cue from Brown and stepping up the physical game, the Kings are almost daring New Jersey to try and beat their penalty kill, showing confidence that their best game will beat the best the Devils have to offer.


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