Kings and Devils set to square-off in the Stanley Cup Finals
The 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Finals- Betting Guide
The stage is now set for this year’s NHL Stanley Cup Finals with the Los Angeles Kings representing the Western Conference and the New Jersey Devils coming out of the East. The best-of-seven championship series kicks-off this Wednesday night with Game 1 at the Prudential Center. Game 2 is set for Saturday before the series shifts to the Staples Center for Game 3 on Monday, June 4 and Wednesday, June 6. It will then alternate sites for the last three games if necessary in an overall 2-2-1-1-1 format.
Los Angeles Kings Team Preview
The Kings came into these playoffs as the eighth-seed in the West, but played like already were the best team in the conference with a 12-2 run in their first three series that has them back in the finals for the first time since 1993. Los Angeles knocked-out the No.1-seed Vancouver Canucks in five games in the first round and made short work of the No.2-seed St. Louis Blues in the conference semifinals with a four-game sweep. Next on the list was the No.3-seed Phoenix Coyotes in the conference finals, but that series only lasted five games as well. After streaking to 3-0 leads in all three series, it is easy to understand why Bovada has opened the Kings as 170-favorites to win this series as well.
Forward Dustin Brown and center Anze Kopitar have fueled LA’s offensive attack this postseason. They have combined for 13 goals and 18 assists in 14 games, but the whole team has shown good balance with four other players tallying at least three goals over the course of the these playoffs.
The other reason that the Kings are in the finals has been the play of Jonathan Quick in goal. He has posted a stellar goals-against-average of 1.54 and a .946 save percentage in his last 14 games as compared to a regular-season GAA of 1.95 and a save percentage of .929. He has been able to make the saves he had to; holding opponents to two or less goals in 12 of those games.
Team Overviews- New Jersey Devils
New Jersey has been opened as a 150 underdog in this series, but being the underdog only seems to motivate a team that faced a higher rated opponent in every round. The Devils took-on the No.3-seed Florida Panthers in the first round and needed back-to-back 3-2 victories in overtime of Game’s 6 and 7 to advance. Things started to really come together in their next two series starting with a dominating win over No.5-seed Philadelphia in five games in the conference semifinals after losing Game 1. New Jersey fell behind 1-0 in the conference finals, but went on to eliminate the No.1-seeded New York Rangers in six games.
This run has lifted the Devils to 8-2 in its last 10 games while outscoring their opponents by a combined score of 30-21. The offensive attack flourished even against Rangers’ goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who was on his way to a possible Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP in the playoffs. New Jersey has been led by a trio of sharpshooters in Ilya Kovalchuk, Travis Zajac, and Zach Parise. These three have now tallied a combined 21 goals and 23 assists in 18 postseason games.
The other key to this team’s success has been the ability of 40-year old veteran netminder Martin Brodeur to turn back the clock a bit to his glory days from a few years ago. He has compiled a GAA of 2.04 and a .923 save percentage in the playoffs as compared to a 2.41 GAA and .908 save percentage in the regular season.
Wednesday night’s Game 1 has the Kings as 120 road favorites with the total set at five. They remain undefeated on the road this postseason at 8-0 and are 6-1 in their last seven games as road favorites. The total has gone ‘over’ in three of their last five games as favorites on the road.
The Devils are 4-1 in their last five games as home underdogs. They are 5-2 in their last seven games following a win with the total staying ‘under’ in three of their last five games following a win.
The underdog has won four of the last five meetings including New Jersey’s 2-1 shootout victory as a 107 home ‘underdog’ and 3-0 shutout as a 155 road favorite in the early part of this season. The total has now stayed ‘under’ in four of the last five games between the two.
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