The unstoppable Los Angeles Kings are one win away from being crowned as the Stanley Cup champions for the first time in franchise history. If they can complete the sweep on Wednesday night at the Staples Center, it truly will be a Hollywood ending for the Kings.
- It is inevitable that LA wins the series now. New Jersey looks like a team that knows they are outmatched. I thought their strong forecheck game would get them a win or two, but they have not been able to establish their bread and butter trademark at all against the Kings. Doughty, just 22, may not win the MVP status but regardless he is the Kings best player.
- Credit smart redesigned breakout plays by the coaches and defensemen. New Jersey takes away the wall so right away LA breaks convention and goes up the middle of the ice. It helps when you have veterans like Willie Mitchell and Rob Scuderi, and the dynamic Drew Doughty.
- With only 2 goals against in 3 games, Jonathan Quick is getting lots of consideration as the Conn Smythe MVP. But Quick's skating and puckhandling ability has also stifled the Devils forecheck. New Jersey did not face such a goalie in the East.
- Dustin Brown was the Kings MVP heading into the finals, but has been relatively quiet against New Jersey. Anze Kopitar is, in my mind, undoubtedly the Kings top forward. He grew up idolizing Sergei Fedorov and you can definitely see some of Fedorov's mannerisms in Kopitar's game. What he lacks in Fedorov's speed and grace he makes up for with a more robust style of play.
- I can not say that too many New Jersey players have impressed me in this series. Stephen Gionta shows constant heart. Adam Henrique has great vision and passing, and his crafty game reminds me of the underrated Murray Craven. Peter Harrold has shown some nice mobility. Travis Zajac started strong.
- But the key here is the Devils top players are quiet. Anyone see Patrik Elias? Ilya Kovalchuk's back injury must be hampering him greatly, because he's shown no jump. And team captain Zach Parise has, in my mind, greatly disappointed. I've watched him closely much of the playoffs. I can see has all the tools to be a fantastic player. But he has never really put it all together and has yet to impress me. As the top UFA to be I don't doubt he will cash in nicely this summer. But I'm not so sure he is worth it.