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The New Jersey Devils will meet welcome the Los Angeles Kings to Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, this evening as the two teams play game one of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final. The Devils, who finished the 2011-12 season in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 106 points, are 12-7 in the playoffs, having beaten the Panthers in seven games, the Flyers in five games, and the Rangers most recently in the Conference finals. The Kings, who finished the regular season in eighth place in the West with 95 points, have roared through the postseason on a near record pace of 12-2: beating the Canucks in five games, sweeping the Blues, and knocking off the Coyotes 4-1 in the Conference finals. It is important to note both that the Kings are undefeated on the road in the playoffs so far, and the Devils have won two Stanley Cups in their history by beating a team that was 12-2 prior to the Final.
Vezina trophy finalist Jonathan Quick will get the call in goal this evening from Brent Sutter, who’s tenure as the head coach in LA began midway through this season. Quick, viewed by some as the best goalie in the NHL, brings a 1.54 GAA, .946 save percentage, and two shutouts into this evening’s contest; his GAA and save percentage are both tops in the NHL among postseason goaltenders. Outside of the crease, the Kings have two injuries: winger Simon Gagne (concussion) and winger Scott Parse (upper body).
The ageless Martin Brodeur, the greatest goaltender of all time, will start in game one for head coach Peter DeBoer. The 40 year-old Brodeur, who already has his name on the Cup three times, brings a 2.04 postseason GAA, .923 postseason save percentage, and one postseason shutout into tonight’s game. New Jersey does not have any injuries at the moment, although it is important to not that defenseman Henrik Tallinder, who has missed the last four months because of a leg injury, is now healthy and available, should DeBoer elect to swap him in.
Puck drops tonight at around 8:11. I will be in Newark for games of the Cup final played at The Rock, so follow me on Twitter here for all of your needs as the final two play out the final games of the 2011-12 season.