The Stanley Cup Finals finally came to an end last night. The Los Angeles Kings, behind the play of goaltender Jonathan Quick and captain Dustin Brown became the first #8 seed in the history of the NHL playoffs to win the cup. The Kings had an improbable run, steamrolling the Western Conference before handling the Devils in the finals.For Los Angeles, the question during the finals was never really if they were going to win, but rather when would they win. The Kings had a chance to clinch in both Games 4 and 5, but were unable to seal the deal. However, last night in Game 6, they were able to jump out to a 3-0 lead with 3 power play goals on the same penalty after Steve Bernier cost the Devs by taking a 5 minute major penalty in the first. All the life the Devils had garnered in winning the last two games was quickly extinguished, and the Kings went on to win a 6-1 game.
As a Ranger and hockey fan, as soon as the Devils beat the Rangers and then lost the first 2 games of the finals in New Jersey, there was very little for me to follow. I have very little respect for fake fans of any sports, especially hockey. Though the fans of Los Angeles celebrated hard last night as if they understood the tradition of winning the Stanley Cup, I’m pretty sure that the major interest of the city has already shifted towards the Lakers offseason. The Kings went on a magical run and I don’t want to take anything away from the players on the team, but the Kings fans who have emerged in the past few weeks certainly don’t deserve it. As a Ranger fan, listening to the fans in the Staples Center chanting MAAAARTY, after Brodeur gave up a goal was down right disrespectful. Kings fans who know shit about hockey have no right to mock the greatest goaltender of all time.
Overall, the postseason was really terrific this year and I’m hopeful that it will spark the nation’s interest of hockey. However, to say that I’m not disappointed with the how it concluded would be a lie. If the Devils had taken the title I would be satisfied, as New Jersey fans appreciate hockey and the Devils would have earned it. Also, if there was a team in Canada that was competitive and gave their entire nation a reason to celebrate, the league would have benefited. However, to see a fair weathered city like Los Angeles, where the celebrities and entitled citizens act as if they give a shit about hockey was hard to watch. The Rangers have renewed my faith this season and even if I can’t wait for the puck to drop next season, watching this season finally end does not sadden me.
Their first ever Stanley Cup since they entered into the NHL fray 45 years ago – something for which the Kings have every reason to be proud.For a town that experiences most of their ice in their drinks by the pool or under the trays at the buffet, you have to hand it to Los Angeles for turning out strong in support of their Kings. Unlike the disappointments suffered by each of the other NHL crowds this season, this sell-out LA audience was treated to a demonstration of sheer power by their team.
I’ll leave it for the more versed in hockey-analia to spell out the specifics of the game; for now leave it said that the LA Kings are truly kings today. And now the Angelistas can get back to the pool and remember why they like ice in the first place.
All they are is Dustin the Wins …
Damn, these Stanley Cup playoffs are hard to predict. Last night, with the Devils facing elimination for the second consecutive game, New Jersey found a way to squeak out a 2-1 victory. With the win, the series is now 3-2 in favor of the Los Angeles Kings and both teams must board a plane and fly across the country once again. The Devils are the first team since 1945 to even force a Game 6 after trailing 3-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals. Heading into last night, the Kings had been 10-0 on the road, so for the first time LA had to actually hear rejoicing from an opposing team’s home crowd as the Devil fans celebrated loudly in the Prudential Center.
Throughout the playoffs, I’ve been praising Devils Captain Zach Parise. I’ve constantly stated that his leadership and overall play reminds me very much of Ryan Callahan, and when the two faced off in the Conference Finals, Parise got the better of the matchup. Last night, Parise took a lot of pressure off his team, when he snuck behind the net to intercept a lazy pass by the Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and snuck the puck between the goalies skate and post to give the Devils a 1-0 first period lead. It was one of the rare mistakes that Quick has made during the playoffs and as a captain is supposed to do, Parise took full advantage.
The Kings Justin Williams knotted the game at 1-1 three minutes into the second period, as he beat Martin Brodeur on a wrist shot from the point. It would turn out to be the only shot Brodeur would let past him, as he saved 25 of the 26 shots he faced. A few minutes later, Bryce Salvador gave the Devils a 2-1 lead on a shot from the blue line that was weirdly deflected and found a way past Quick. The crazy thing about Salvador is that the defenseman has now scored 4 playoff goals, but during the regular season he found the net 0 times. “We’re looking for him to score a goal all year, so he peaked at the right time if you ask me,” Brodeur said of Salvador after the game. Salvador’s goal ended up being all the Devils would need to send both teams back to LA.
The Kings had the Devils on the ropes and like most people covering the series, I wrote New Jersey off heading into Game 4. They looked like a lost team, but inside the locker room they never stopped believing. “We could have packed it in two games ago. That’s the bottom line,” Brodeur said. “But you see we have a bunch of resilient guys that want to try to make history and try to win the Stanley Cup. We’re not going to give up.” With last night’s win the Devils are 10-1 in Games 4-7 in the postseason, which will give them extra confidence to extend this series even further. If the Devils can win Game 6 and force the Kings to travel across the country for the 5th time in 2 weeks, after losing 3 games in a row, I believe the Devils will win Game 7. Therefore, I think the winner of tomorrow night’s Game 6 will determine this Series, and with no basketball on the schedule, you better be watching!
Hockey, the sport of Kings. Or at least that’s what everyone thought going into last night’s game 4 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. It appears that the Devils had something to say about that with their 3-1 trouncing of LA. So all you Jersey fans who had already locked up your, well actually, your NJ JERSEYS, its time to take them out of the closet and get yourselves ready for another Saturday night of hockey in Newark. And all you non-believers who were psyched for a Kings’ shutout, let’s just say that you’ll probably have to wait one more game. I mean who are we kidding if we think New Jersey is going to turn this all around?
For those of you who actually pay attention to this, the outcome of last night’s game must have been really exciting! And for everyone else – you know there is another NBA playoff game tonight in Boston, right?
Los Angeles! The city of Angels! The home of movies and the millionaire stars who act in them. Where it’s 85 degrees and sunny 365 days of the year. A city that embraces the flashy Lakers and the high flying Blake Griffin. A city that will support the Dodgers until the 6th inning, as traffic is so brutal that staying through the 9th is not an option. But most of all when I think of Los Angeles, I think of hockey! All over the city, millions of kids are strapping up their skates and looking for a piece of ice to hone their skills. Kobe Bryant posters have been taken off walls, to be replaced by Anze Kopitar’s smiling, toothless mug. All of the millions of die-hard Kings fans are finally coming out of the closet. LL Cool J finally has a reason to celebrate!
For those of you who have not been following, the Los Angeles Kings have jumped out to a 3-0 lead over the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Finals. After last night’s 4-0 beat down, it is inevitable that the Kings will capture their first cup in the history of the franchise. As I watched last night’s game, it was clear that the Devils have lost all faith in their chances of making this series remotely interesting. The Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick outplayed the legendary Martin Brodeur and I would be shocked if the Devils were able to avoid the sweep tomorrow night. The real joy I will take away from watching the Kings celebrate will be watching David and Victoria Beckham embrace afterwards, as their happiness is really what the Stanley Cup Finals is all about.
Fans in cities like Boston, Minneapolis, Vancouver, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary think they know more about hockey then the puck heads in LA. Guys, just because it doesn’t snow or produce ice in Los Angeles doesn’t mean that your passion for hockey is any stronger. Detroit has given itself the nickname “hockeytown”, but that doesn’t mean the Redwings are a more storied franchise than the Kings. Did you know that Wayne Gretzky actually played games for the Los Angeles Kings?!?! He never played for the Redwings! So based on that fact alone, Los Angeles is clearly a better hockey city than “hockeytown”. The Redwings have 11 Stanley Cups, but as far as Kings fans are concerned, they will have 0 in 2012.
Ask Jack Nicholson and he’ll definitely be able to tell you that it took 24 years for the Kings to win a division championship, but LA fans didn’t even know about the franchise for the first 20, so it really only took 4 years of support for the Kings to bring home their first division title in 1990-1991. Two years later the Kings lost in the Stanley Cup Finals to the Montreal Canadiens, though Kings fans celebrated as if they won the Cup. Apparently they did not realize that Canadian teams played in the NHL, and they thought the games with Montreal were exhibition “victory tour” games. Imagine the festivities this year that will take place when they beat an American team in the Finals and actually be able to hoist the Cup. Justin Bieber and Snoop Dogg will probably lead the charge, as they have awaited a Kings’ Stanley Cup for the entirety of their lives. It’s going to be a wild celebration, though the real party will probably take place in between the second and third periods, because of course, traffic getting out of the Staples Center is just as bad as it is getting out of Dodger Stadium. Enjoy Kings fans, you guys deserve it!!
The Kings find themselves in a situation they have been in three times already this postseason…up 2-0 heading back to Los Angeles. The Kings are 14-2 in the playoffs, but the more impressive number is their 10-0 road postseason record. The New Jersey Devils appear baffled by the outcome of the first two games, because the sentiment from the club is that they have played two very strong hockey games. Now New Jersey faces the daunting task of traveling across the country and playing the Kings at the Staples Center in front of a fan base which has waited 19 years for meaningful hockey and is ready to raise the cup.
For the second consecutive game, the Kings won a thrilling 2-1 OT game. Jeff Carter beat Martin Brodeur 13 minutes into the extra period, but prior to his shot, the game was insanely close. The Devils outshot the Kings 33 to 32, they outhit LA 35 to 32 and the face-off matchup was 38 to 33 in favor of the Kings. Now the Devils will have to beat the Kings in 4 out of the next 5 games, in which 3 of the games will be on the road. When asked about his teams chances, captain Zach Parise said “They are a great team, but it’s not like we got blown out the last two games,” Parise said. “It will be really hard but we will give it our best shot.”
Devils sniper Ilya Kovalchuk had two great chances to win the game. In the last-minute, Los Angeles turned the puck over to Ilya right in front of the Kings net, but Kovalchuk didn’t get his best shot off, it grazed goalie Jonathan Quick’s shoulder and deflected off the crossbar. Then in the first couple of minutes of OT, Kovalchuk had another chance to blast the puck in the net and Quick stopped him on the doorstep. Martin Brodeur, who was playing in his 200th game did more than enough for Jersey to win them the game, though the youngster Quick as just a little bit better and as a result the Kings are in position to step on the Devs throats in the next contest.
Well, my original pick of Devils in 7 is looking pretty doubtful but once again, who really knows when it comes to these Stanley Cup playoffs…Enjoy the highlights from last night’s game.
I would imagine that when a young kid is growing up and playing hockey, he would fantasize about having a breakaway to win a game in the Stanley Cup Finals. For Anze Kopitar, that fantasy became reality last night as he found the puck on his stick 8 minutes into the extra frame, looked up and had only the goalie to beat. The thing about this scenario for Kopitar was that he didn’t have to beat any old goaltender, but he had Martin Brodeur, possibly the greatest goalie in NHL history, standing in his way. Kopitar faked right, took the puck to his backhand and waited for Brodeur to make a move as he slid the puck under Marty’s right pad. Game over, LA is up 1-0 and Kopitar realized a dream.
Oh yeah, I should have probably started this article by reminding everyone that the NHL Stanley Cup Finals actually started last night. I’m assuming that the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics Game 2 destroyed the Devs-Kings in the national ratings, but all the true hockey fans who tuned in were treated to a great game. Both teams played fundamental hockey, and each goalie made plays to keep their teams in the game. Brodeur made an awesome play in the third, stacking the pads to stop Drew Doughty on the doorstep, and Jonathan Quick played shutout hockey for the most part, as the Devil’s lone goal was a flukey deflection off a King defenseman. The King’s looked like they pushed the play a little more than New Jersey, and the road warriors were able to capitalize in OT and capture Game 1.
The NHL was certainly rooting for a Rangers and Kings finals, as facing LA and New York City off against each other in the finals would have been marketing heaven for a league that sorely needs the coverage. Instead, the Devils forced the NHL to sell a product that is not as appealing, lacking the marquee power a Ranger-King matchup would have produced. However, for the true hockey fans like myself, this series will provide great hockey, defensive battles and a true appreciation for the forecheck. Even if I am in the minority, and I know that I am, I can’t wait for Game 2!
As an avid New York Rangers fan, I have avoided writing this article for a few days now. One of the best ways to get over a defeat to your hated rival is to get away from it all, which is what I was able to accomplish this Memorial Day Weekend. However, it is time to pay my respect to a team that is very deserving. The New Jersey Devils proved that they were the most complete team in the Eastern Conference this season, playing excellent hockey all season long, unnoticed by the majority of the Tri-state area. If you have read my posts in the past few weeks in which I gave unlimited accolades to the Rangers leadership, tenacity and desire to win, all and more should also be said about the Devils. As much as it pains me to say, I believe New Jersey deserves to be where they are, but now they come up to their greatest challenge yet.
The Devils finished the season with more points than their opponents, meaning that for the first time in the postseason, New Jersey will have home ice advantage. Not that it really matters all that much to them, as New Jersey beat the Rangers twice at MSG and finished off both the Panthers and Flyers in their own buildings. If anything, this might actually be a disadvantage for the Devils. The Western Conference Champion Los Angeles Kings have steamrolled their way to the Finals. They have gone 8-0 on the road, taking the first 2 games of each of their series against the top three seeds in the West. They have gone up 3-0 in all three rounds, illustrating their dominance in all arenas this postseason. The Kings snuck into the playoffs as the #8 seed, but have since proved how worthy they actually have been. In a city defined by its basketball tradition, the 2012 Kings have given the hockey contingent a reason to be excited for the first time since 1993, when some dude named Wayne Gretzky led the Kings to the Finals against the Montreal Canadiens. However, the Kings fell to a legendary goaltender in that series named Patrick Roy. Now they get another try against maybe the only goalie in hockey history better than Roy.
The before mentioned legend of course is Martin Broduer, and the main matchup to watch will be the battle of the goaltenders. The 40-year-old Brodeur will be going up against the 26-year-old Jonathan Quick. While Brodeur has all the experience in the world on his side, Quick has been the most dominant goalie of the postseason thus far. Quick has posted a 12-2 record with a 1.55 Goals Against Average. He has given up more than 2 goals only twice in the playoffs and has yet to allow 3 in a game. Brodeur has gotten the job done, but has been a lot more shaky in doing so. He was able to outduel the Rangers Henrik Lundqvist, a goalie in a small group considered to be the best in the world. Brodeur did give up a few bad goals to the Rangers though, and was even pulled from a game earlier this postseason against the Florida Panthers. Quick has been much more consistent and its going to take a huge effort from Brodeur to keep up with the Kings net-minder. However, in my years watching hockey, there is one thing I know about Marty and that is to never better against him. I won’t start doing that now.
Though the Kings have picked up the scoring in the postseason, they are not a dynamic offensive team by any means. Jonathan Quick’s play has brought them to the Finals. The Devils on the other hand have somehow transformed themselves into an offensive juggernaut. Ilya Kovalchuk, Adam Henrique, Travis Zajak, Stephen Gionta, Ryan Carter and company have been lighting up the nets in the postseason. Zach Parise provides the scoring and leadership that Ryan Callahan gave the Rangers, though it might appear the Parise did an even better job that the blueshirts Captain. Head coach Peter DeBoer has kept his team calm and composed all season long, and feels confident in all four of his lines for a spark.
I think the Devils offensive push will finally get to Jonathan Quick, who has played in big games throughout the playoffs, but hasn’t been on this stage before. Marty on the other hand has seen it all before and has done everything you can in the sport, so I can’t see him getting flustered at all. I believe the Eastern Conference was tougher than the West this year, and the Devils battled through, proving they were the strongest willed team in their Conference. The Kings are scary and I might be sleeping on them a little bit, but as much as it sucks to say, I have to go with the Devils in the Cup Finals this year. (that doesn’t mean I’ll be rooting for them though!)
Devils in 7 games