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L.A. Kings vs. New Jersey Devils Game 1 Stanley Cup Final Picks | Preview

Kings vs Devils Pick

Road Warrior Kings kick off Final against home warrior Devils

The Stanley Cup Final kicks off Wednesday night and it features two of the most unlikely teams vying for the best trophy in sports. The #8 seeded Los Angeles Kings open on the road against the #6 seeded New Jersey Devils in a matchup of the two lowest ranked teams to ever meet in a Cup Final.

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Los Angeles Kings at New Jersey Devils
When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Where: Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
Broadcast: CBC, NBC, RDS
Kings vs. Devils Game 1 Betting Lines from betonline.com
Spread: -1 ½ (+250)
Moneyline: Kings -120: Devils +109
Over/Under: 4 ½ goals

Matchup | Preview 

How good have the Los Angeles Kings been so far in this year’s postseason? They are 12-2 overall and they have yet to lose on the road (8-0). They have taken a 3-0 series lead against all three of their opponents thus far and they have killed off all but five penalties against in the playoffs.

But all the stats are out the window when they start the biggest series of all against New Jersey on Wednesday night. There are two huge storylines for the Kings heading into Game 1. Let’s deal with the offense first. This team was the second worst scoring team in the league during the regular season but once the playoffs started someone hit the switch and this team started to see contributions in the offensive end from all four lines ranking third with an average of 2.93 goals per game (almost a full game more than during the regular season). The Kings are big up front and they are talented no matter which line they throw in the ice – from playoff veterans like Mike Richards and Jeff Carter to those relatively new to a long playoff run – Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and their unheralded fourth liners.

The other storyline is Jonathan Quick who has quickly made himself a household name. He is 12-2 with a 1.54 goals against average and a .946 save percentage during the post season and at times looks absolutely impenetrable.

The New Jersey Devils are the other surprise of the playoffs so far. They, like the Kings have been a force in absolutely every aspect of the game so far in the post season. They have offense (I know – this is the Devils we are talking about!!!!!), they have the goaltending obviously and they have a depth that absolutely overwhelmed the higher seeds that the Devils have eliminated so far. [ad-4437448]

Offensively, the Devils are barely recognizable from the teams that have won the Cup in the past. They are fast, they are talented and they rely on their ability to put the puck in the net to win games. Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, Travis Zajac, Adam Henrique and David Clarkson have transformed this team into an offensive force and have led the team to an average of 2.83 goals per game during the playoffs, good for fourth.

Of course the Devils have some guy named Martin Brodeur backstopping them. He has three Cups already in his storied career and will certainly be motivated to grab the only piece of hardware yet to elude him – the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP.

All told, the Cup Final and Game 1 promises to be an interesting one between two very evenly matched teams that are peaking at precisely the right moment.

Game 1 Betting Prediction: Los Angeles’s road streak is well documented but against New Jersey, they may have found their match – the Devils are 6-1 in their last seven games on home ice. Game 1’s are typically characterized by tight, close checking play – special teams are often the difference.

The Devils have outscored their opponents 25-9 in the first periods of their games in the post season so far and their power play has converted on 12 of 66 tries for a percentage of 18.2 %. These two factors will be the difference on Wednesday night. LA’s streak eight game road win finally comes to an end in a tight low scoring affair.

Pick: New Jersey Devils +109

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Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.