Today is the Los Angeles Kings’ 45th birthday. As a birthday party, they could complete the sweep of the New Jersey Devils and win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Some present, huh? It would be the 21st sweep in Stanley Cup Finals history (since the 7-game format began in 1938-39), but just the first since 1998, where the Detroit Red Wings swept the Washington Capitals. There have been 9 other teams who have won the Stanley Cup Finals via a sweep (Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, New Jersey Devils, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadians, Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins), so if the Kings are able to pull this off tonight, they’ll join a small group of teams who were able to pull off this huge feat. Only the Colorado Avalanche swept the finals while winning their first Stanley Cup. Not only could they possibly sweep, but they have done it in dominating fashion.
Kings’ goaltender Jonathan Quick has been THE story of this series, with an anemic 0.59 goals against average and .972 save percentage in the three games so far, including a shutout in game 3. Former Hurricane Justin Williams, looking for his second Stanley Cup Ring, was huge in game three of the series with a goal and an assist to go on top of the assist he had in game one. Anze Kopitar has been huge for the Kings, as well, registering a point per game so far in the series (3 points – 2G, 1A). Kopitar is now tied with the Devils’ Ilya Kovalchuk with 18 points throughout the playoffs.
Speaking of Kovalchuk, I’m sure there are several Devils fans who are asking where their star player has disappeared to. During the eastern conference finals against the New York Rangers, Kovalchuk had 6 points in as many games. In the Stanley Cup finals, he has been virtually absent with 0 points, 5 total shots and a -1 rating. You can’t put all of the blame on Kovalchuk, though. Zach Parise, who will likely fetch a huge contract this offseason, has zero points and a -3 rating in the finals. While Martin Brodeur had an off game in game 3 allowing 4 goals on 21 shots, he kept his team within the first two games of the series. He had a .920 save percentage in the first game and recorded a .938 save percentage in game two. Unfortunately for Brodeur and the Devils, Quick has been astounding. Stopping 70 of 72 shots in three games of the Stanley Cup Finals is Conn Smythe Worthy. If the Kings complete the sweep tonight (even if they win the series), Quick should win the Conn Smythe as MVP of the playoffs. Without him, who knows where the Kings would be.
Will the Kings complete the sweep or will the Devils survive to play another day? Let us know your thoughts in the comments! Until then, feel free to check us out on Facebook at CardiacCane. Also, be sure to follow Cardiac Cane writers on Twitter at: @CardiacCaneFS and @caniac176