Kings And Devils Set For Game 1 Puck-Drop
By: Michael Robinson
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
The Stanley Cup Finals between the New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings finally gets underway in just a few hours at 8:00 p.m. (ET) from the Prudential Center.
This is fittingly a battle between a No. 8 (Kings) and No. 6 (Devils) seed after a playoff season full of upsets.
The road Kings were between -115 and -120 for Game 1 in our daily update yesterday. They are down to -110 as the consensus with money coming in on the Devils. You can also find either team as the slight favorite depending on the betting location.
Don Best Sports analyst Brian Blessing thinks the real value tonight is the total. It’s set at 4½ with the ‘over’ -120, and the lack of familiarity between the teams will lead to some wide-open play and good scoring opportunities.
The Kings have been a great story as a No. 8 seed from the Western Conference. That includes a 12-2 overall record in the playoffs and an 8-0 road mark that established a new NHL record. However, to be a prohibitive series favorite starting on the road is another matter.
Blessing believes this is going to be an outstanding matchup. He also believes that the value is with New Jersey as 170 series underdogs.
Road teams like the Kings are generally just looking for a split in the first two games. However, the way Los Angeles has been playing away from Socal means the Devils would be happy taking one of two.
A win by New Jersey tonight would instantly plant some seeds of doubt with the Kings players. If the Devils can’t get it done, then Saturday’s Game 2 would become extremely important for them.
Blessing’s prediction for the series is the Devils in six games. He also sees the totals starting to increase up to five by Game 3. That’s not a knock on the respective goaltending of Marty Brodeur and Jonathan Quick. It’s just that the Devils have the ability to put up goals and force an up-tempo game.
The power play is another big factor with New Jersey at an 18.2 percent success rate in the playoffs, versus just 8.1 percent for Los Angeles.
There’s also not a huge amount of difference between the Devils’ first and fourth line, and any time you have that kind of offensive depth, it provides nightmares for the opposition.
Enjoy Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight and keep checking in with Don Best for our unique insight every step of the way.