May 25, 2012, 11:22 PM EDT
In the summer of 2010, the Los Angeles Kings made a bid to nab the supposed missing piece of their Stanley Cup puzzle in the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes. Now he’s one of the biggest obstacles in the upstart Kings’ way as the New Jersey Devils emerged from the East.
Yup, that means the East’s No. 6 seed will host the West’s No. 8 seed in the 2012 Stanley Cup finals.
There are plenty of juicy storylines. Two great forechecking teams will go head-to-head. An all-time great in his last days (Martin Brodeur) takes on a contemporary elite in the meat of his prime (Jonathan Quick). There’s plenty of marquee talent as Kovalchuk, Zach Parise & Co. take on Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Mike Richards and more.
Considering the way the Kings buzzed through the West’s top three seeds, many will consider Los Angeles the unlikely favorite. Just ask the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers if the Devils play like underdogs, though.
With all that in mind, let’s get your Stanley Cup pick – number of games included.
- Zuccarello takes Rangers’ one year, $3.5M deal 21
- Advancement? Leafs sign Booth for one year, $1.1M 16
- Leafs hire 28-year-old stats advocate as assistant GM 27
- NBC Sports to air over 100 NHL regular-season games in 2014-15 61
- Stars, Roussel agree on four-year, $8 million deal 3
- Vanek connected to federal gambling investigation 61
- Return that toaster: Ovechkin-Kirilenko engagement broken off 52
- Report: Leafs sign Franson to one year, $3.3 million deal 8
- Report: O’Reilly wants $6.7M deal, Avs counter at $5.5M 58
- Report: Blue Jackets, Johansen make ‘significant progress’ toward deal 5
- Kane, Toews could’ve commanded $13.8M cap hits, says agent (83)
- Babcock fires back over allegations that free agents avoid him (77)
- Babcock: Cleary a ‘calculated risk’ after playing last year ‘on one leg’ (70)
- NBC Sports to air over 100 NHL regular-season games in 2014-15 (65)
- Vanek connected to federal gambling investigation (61)