Los Angeles Kings @ New Jersey Devils
Stanley Cup Final, Game 5
8:00 ET… TV: NBC, CBC
Players to watch:
LA- Dustin Brown
LA- Dustin Brown
Captain Brown has struggled a bit of late, collecting just two points in the last six games. However, his best work this postseason has come on the road and the Kings can taste the Holy Grail. Look for a strong game from Brown tonight.
NJ- Ryan Carter
The Devils’ fourth line was a sparkplug in the third round, but thus far it’s been fairly quiet in this series. A big effort out of Carter, Stephen Gionta and Steve Bernier would be a big boost to the Devils.
Projected starting goaltenders:
LA- Jonathan Quick (Playoff stats: 15-3, 1.39 GAA)
NJ- Martin Brodeur (Playoff stats: 13-8, 2.04 GAA)
Three things to watch:
1. Can the Kings complete their road perfection in style?
Darryl Sutter’s Kings have stunned everyone with their work away from home, as their record in road games this postseason is 10-0. They have won road games every way possible thus far – overtime, holding onto to late leads, blowing out the opposition; the last three wins have come in overtime. Wouldn’t it be icing on the cake for the Kings to complete a perfect postseason away from home by raising Lord Stanley at night’s end?
2. Can the Devils make this interesting?
On the other side of things, Peter DeBoer’s Devils are behind the eight ball. They managed to squeak out a Game 4 win in Los Angeles and seem to have gained some confidence from that victory. They will have their home fans behind them tonight with the season on the line. Led Martin Brodeur, this is an experienced group with a lot of pride. Because of that, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them force a Game 6 back in Tinseltown.
3. Quick vs. Brodeur
Aside from a 4-0 Kings win in Game 3, each one of these games have been close and decided by one fluke goal here or there. Twice in those situations, Brodeur has blinked first; on Wednesday, Quick did. Neither goalie has had to come up with a heroic effort this series, but they have both made some key saves to keep their teams in it. Tonight’s game should be close, which means the goaltending battle will have a big say in the outcome.
The Devils are saying, “Why not us?” The Kings know what’s at stake. If they lose this game, the Devils’ confidence can only snowball going into Game 6. Sutter’s gang wants to close it out tonight, and they are 2-0 in close-out games on the road this postseason. The Kings’ power play has come alive in the last two games. If it’s effective tonight, it could be a difference-maker.
In the end, I see the Kings winning this game; if they don’t, things will get very interesting. Winning the Cup on the road would be a perfect ending to the Kings’ dominant playoff run. It’s not to say the Devils can’t win this game, because it should be a close one. Quick makes one more save than Brodeur, Brown scores a big goal and the Kings celebrate their first title tonight.
Prediction: Kings 2, Devils 1 (OT)
Video of the day:
*Follow us on Twitter – @RLDhockey