Time to figure out who I think will skate away with the Stanley Cup for the 2011-2012 season. After there being no official winner last year, the NHL needs to make sure this championship series is a good one.
But before we get to that point, I need to recap what we saw in the Conference Finals.
In the East, we had the New York Rangers up against the New Jersey Devils. It was the conference’s top seed against the sixth seed, or fifth if actual points was the determining factor. I had the Rangers winning in 7. I was wrong, as we saw the Devils win in 6.
Out West, it was the Phoenix Coyotes playing the Los Angeles Kings. The Coyotes won their first division title this year, while the Kings snuck into the playoffs after a disappointing (compared to expectations) year. I had the Kings winning in 6, which they nearly did, emerging victorious in 5.
Overall, I went 1-1 in the Conference Finals, bring my record to 6-8, guaranteeing a losing record in my predictions for the first time since I went 6-9 in 2010.
On to my thoughts on the Stanley Cup Final.
(6E) New Jersey Devils v. (8W) Los Angeles Kings
The Kings are the eighth seed in name only. They have played like President’s Trophy winners, going 12-2 through the first three rounds. The Devils had some trouble with the Florida Panthers in the first round, but have come on stronger in the next two rounds, taking out the Philadelphia Flyers and Rangers in only 11 games, going 8-3. You have goaltending coming out the wazoo in this series, and the Devils are uncharacteristically good on offence. The Kings, for their part, have turned on the offence in the playoffs, after being one of the NHL’s worst teams offensively in the regular season. Many people want to see Martin Brodeur win one more Stanley Cup. I don’t. But my emotions don’t factor into my predictions. When it comes down to it, the Kings are on a serious roll, and I don’t see anything stopping them. I’m taking the Kings in 6.