May 25, 2012, 11:22 PM EST
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.
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