29 May 2012

2012 Stanley Cup Finals Prediction

And now we are down to two clubs in the race for Lord Stanley's Cup. In one corner, the only team in the original expansion of the National Hockey League that has yet to win the Stanley Cup and is making their first appearance in the Final since 1993. In the other corner, arguably the most consistent hockey club in the last 25 years, gunning for their fourth Cup since 1995 but are also making their first Cup appearance since defeating Anaheim in 2003. Only one can win this Cup Final; who will win it all? This is the official B-Flo 360 prediction for the 2012 Stanley Cup Final.

TV Schedule

(6) New Jersey Devils vs. (8) Los Angeles Kings

The New Jersey Devils were only the second sixth to reach the Stanley Cup Finals, the only other being the 2003-04 Calgary Flames. This is a club that played a key role in many of the rule changes post-lockout as well as charges that they were responsible for the lessening popularity of the sport in the U.S. thanks to their conservative trapping style that won them 3 cups but this team under new head coach Peter DeBoer is wildly different than those clubs. This is an aggressive, attacking club on offense that has starpower in captain Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk with a lot of solid contributors, including the team's now vaunted fourth line, that gets a lot of PT and is one that is not the grinder line that you usually see the fourth line being. Martin Brodeur may be 40 years old and far past his prime but when his team has needed the future Hall of Famer this postseason, he has delivered with some unbelievable play in net.

The Los Angeles Kings became only the second team ever to knock out the #1, #2 and #3 seeds all in the same postseason. The first team to do it was the aforementioned Flames from 2003-04. Both teams were coached by Daryl Sutter, who was hired by Los Angeles in late December. They also became the second team since the current playoff structure was instituted in the 93-94 season to reach the Final as an eight seed. You may just look at the Kings being solely carried on the back of their star goaltender Jonathan Quick, who continued his awesome season with a great postseason, but this is a club that Don Cherry said that plays every shift like it's their last and they have a really solid offense led by captain Dustin Brown at right wing, Anze Kopitar at center, Justin Williams at left winger as well as several other talented wingers, plus a strong defensive group led by Drew Doughty.

The common observer who does not know much about hockey would probably look at the Devils as the favorite in the series due to their stronger regular season record. But it has been uncanny how dominant the Kings have been in the playoffs as they knocked off the defending conference champions Vancouver Canucks in five, swept the second seeded St. Louis Blues and took out the Phoenix Coyotes in five in the conference finals so that is why they are the favorites coming into the Final.

And I am picking the Los Angeles Kings to take the series in six games. I think this will be a closer series than some may be prognosticating because these teams are pretty similar, both can score really well and both get really good goaltending from those in net, even though Los Angeles has the clear advantage here. I think the difference will be how the Devils have a tendency to sleepwalk through the second period, which against an aggressive club like this Kings squad is not a good sign. I think that will ultimately spin this series to LA but I really think this will be a close series that either team could end up winning. But I'm predicting the Kings to be the ones hoisting the Stanley Cup.

No comments:

Post a Comment