New Jersey Devils @ Los Angeles Kings
Stanley Cup Final, Game 6
8:00 ET… TV: NBC, CBC
Players to watch:
NJ- Anton Volchenkov
NJ- Anton Volchenkov
Volchenkov really had an impactful game on Saturday, dishing out four hits and blocking four shots. What the Devils lack in skill on the back end they make up for it in grit and hard work. They need a similar effort from Volchenkov and company to stay alive.
LA- Anze Kopitar
The Kings need their best players to be their best players in tonight’s game, and it starts with Kopitar. He has four points in this series and was great in Game 3, but hasn’t been the same player in the last two contests.
Projected starting goaltenders:
NJ- Martin Brodeur (Playoff stats: 14-8, 2.00 GAA)
LA- Jonathan Quick (Playoff stats: 15-4, 1.43 GAA)
Three things to watch:
1. For the third time now: Is tonight the night?
For the last two games, the Stanley Cup has been taken out of its case to be shined in front of millions of viewers. Brodeur and company forced the keepers of the Cup to put Lord Stanley back in its case both times. Is tonight the night it’s presented at center ice? The Kings seem to be on their heels a bit, unable to close out an experienced Devils group that is halfway to history.
2. Do the Devils have enough in the tank to force Game 7?
The Devils have worked their way back into this series with a lot of hard work on both ends of the ice. Do they have enough gas in the tank to win another one? Ilya Kovalchuk is visibly playing hurt and Zach Parise isn’t himself. They’ll need some other unsung heroes – like Adam Henrique and Bryce Salvador did in Games 4 and 5 – to step up tonight with those two not playing at 100%.
3. The game’s first goal
The first goal has been important in each game this series. In fact, the team that has scored first has won all five games. Especially in the last two games, the Devils have really fed off scoring first. So did the Kings in Games 1, 2 and 3. With the stakes high tonight, look for each team to come flying out of the gates in the first 5-10 minutes to try to take an early lead.
It was ‘destiny’ for the Kings to complete the sweep in Game 4 – didn’t happen. The Kings winning the Cup on the road, completing a perfect 11-0 road record, was ‘meant to be’ – didn’t happen. This will be the Kings’ true test. Their scoring chances have been limited in the last two games, as Peter DeBoer has made some strong adjustments. Can the Kings generate more offense in this one?
The Devils may have the Kings right where they want them. The pressure tonight fully lies on the Kings’ shoulders. If they can’t get it done tonight, at home, the writing is on the wall for the Devils to complete the dramatic comeback Wednesday night in Game 7. You’ll be able to cut the Staples Center tension with a knife, especially if the Devils score first.
In the end, the pick remains the same. My pick before the series was Kings in six and I’m sticking by it. However, there’s something eerie about this series right now. On the strength of the veterans, the Devils are making this interesting. Game 6 should be a barnburner!
Prediction: Kings 3, Devils 2
Video of the day:
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