Kings-Devils Stanley Cup Final Preview, Game 1: Battle on the Walls
Since we last met the New Jersey Devils...
IN: Marek Zidlicky, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Peter Harrold (Devils); Dwight King, Jordan Nolan, Jeff Carter (Kings)
OUT: Adam Larsson, Henrik Tallinder (Devils); Simon Gagne, Kyle Clifford, Andrei Loktionov (Kings)
Enemy Reading: In Lou We Trust
Most of the talk leading up to this series has centered around both teams' aggression on the forecheck.
One particular theory, however--that the Kings have never faced a forechecking team like the Devils before in the playoffs--is false. The Vancouver Canucks went with a forecheck after game 2. The Kings have also faced the league's top regular season possession team, the St. Louis Blues (who based their stellar season around this approach).
The Kings were a stronger possession team than the Devils in the regular season, and became even stronger after the trade deadline. In the playoffs, they have faced better possession teams than the Devils. However, the Devils have yet to face an opponent like the Los Angeles Kings.
New Jersey is not going to collapse around the net and give up a ton of shots like the Coyotes. I expect this to be a much tighter battle along the lines of the St. Louis and Vancouver series.
Both teams are big and heavy. Both have benefited from strong goaltending. At even strength, Brodeur and Quick are almost even.
This series will be won in battles on the wall. We don't know which team will prevail tonight. However, the Kings should be ready for it.