NHL Week in Review (June 3-9)

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After the first three games in the finals the Stanley Cup ceremony seemed to be ready to go for the Kings. That was until the Devils finally got some breaks in the series and began getting the results they seemingly deserved. Through the first two games the Devils seemed to outplay the Kings at moments but could not get the breaks. It seemed that the Kings were the better team and were getting the bounces which allowed them to get out to an early 3-0 lead in the series. In game 4 the Kings would look to end the series in a sweep at home. For the Kings it would be a legendary finish to the Cup finals for many reasons. For one it would be the first ever Stanley Cup to be hoisted by the Kings but one other legendary aspect would be that if they won they would have the best record out of any Playoff team since the 1988 Edmonton Oilers who went 16-2 on their way to the Stanley Cup. The Kings were looking to match this record and would do so if they swept the Devils. It wasn’t to be though as the Devils finally looked like they were getting the bounces and staved off elimination for the time being. It was their longtime face of the franchise, who helped them get the win as well with Martin Brodeur standing on his head for the Devils. The Kings had seen this story before though as they had gone 3-0 against the Canucks and the Coyotes but failed to win in game 4 to close out the series. Of course they also did sweep the St. Louis Blues in round 2 of the playoffs so the ability to finish teams is not a huge question. The Kings and Devils would fly back to New Jersey for Game 5 along with the Stanley Cup that began following both teams in Game 4. While in New Jersey the Kings would try to close out the series once again while the Devils were looking to remain alive and breathe new life into their Stanley Cup hopes. If New Jersey could pull off the win they would make this a series with momentum in their corner and only two games until they can hoist the cup. The Kings were trying to keep the Devils at bay and not allow them a chance to come back into the series by ending it. The game was a great back and forth battle with both teams getting their chances and both goalies playing well. Then came the first mistake as the usually sharp Jonathan Quick threw the puck behind the net that was picked up by Zach Parise and put into the net to open the scoring. The Devils seemed to be all over the Kings who looked to be struggling to play their game. The Kings had their chances though but Brodeur was there to shut them down. It wasn’t until the second period when the Kings broke through to tie the game with a Justin Williams goal but the tie was broken later in the period by Bryce Salvador. With the Devils ahead 2-1 the Kings looked to turn it on but they could not get past Brodeur for a second time. The Devils won Game 5 and made this a series as they are now only one win from forcing a Game 7. The series moves back to Los Angeles for Game 6 as the Kings look to stop the Devils momentum and end the series while the Devils hope to win and force a single elimination game for the Cup. After being so dominant throughout the playoffs the Kings are looking like they are back on their heels. It all comes to a head on Monday when Game 6 gets underway as this Stanley Cup could be about the Kings dominance and small stumble or one of the best comebacks in Stanley Cup history by the Devils.

As the Stanley Cup continues on the rest of the league looks towards what could be a wild offseason. With the CBA discussions heating up and the upcoming negotiations making everything a little more unknown. As the games come to a close teams begin to look towards the next season and many do not know if there will be one. Many believe that next year may miss a few months or the entire year. This makes the offseason a scary proposition because teams become reluctant to sign big name free agents or to make trades. Nobody wants to spend money on contracts when they may not even see a return on those investments if there is no season. Despite that there have been some moves including the trade and signing of Tomas Vokoun by the Pittsburgh Penguins to be a backup for Marc-Andre Fleury. With little free agents available many teams will be resorting to this strategy of trading for the best players and there are some available. The biggest name in the offseason will be Roberto Luongo who has provided a list of teams to be traded to. Although Luongo is not guaranteed to be traded it seems likely that he will be if someone wants to pick up the remaining years on his long-term contract. With uncertainty ahead teams will be looking to two dates in hopes that CBA talks can take a good turn. These dates will be June 22nd when the league goes to Pittsburgh for the NHL draft and July 1st when the free agency period begins. If the CBA takes a turn for the worst this offseason could be pretty quiet until better news arises. There is a lot of uncertainty going around right now but the GM games begin after the Kings and Devils settle their series to determine the next champion.

 

Stanley Cup Finals

New Jersey Devils 2 – 3 Los Angeles Kings

Game 1: LAK 2 – 1 NJD (OT)

Game 2: LAK 2 – 1 NJD (OT)

Game 3: LAK 4 – 0 NJD

Game 4: NJD 3 – 1 LAK

Game 5: NJD 2 – 1 LAK

Game 6: NJD @ LAK (Monday June 11th; 8:00 pm)

Game 7: LAK @ NJD (Wednesday June 13th; 8:00 pm)

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