The Devils dispatched the New York Rangers Friday night to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the 5′th time in franchise history. The Devils will face the Kings in a cup final that has been if nothing else, odd. The Kings are an eight seed, but if you were to look back at publications from September or October, they were actually projected to finish at the very worst in the top 5 of the western conference. The Stanley Cup appearance wasn’t projected by many, but the Devils have completely spurned their prognosticators. Hardly any mainstream hockey journalists predicted that the Devils would even qualify for the playoffs, let alone advance to the finals.
In all of this it is hard not to feel good for a guy like Pete Deboer, as last summer he was cast aside in a very unfair manner. Dale Tallon effectively ripped his Florida Panthers team down to nothing at the trade deadline, and then fired Deboer as result of not being able to succeed with the cast of misfits. He has clearly learned from past mistakes since arriving in Jersey and has done well by Lou Lamoriello, who is famously meticulous with his coaches, once firing Claude Julien only 2 games before the playoffs began.
Best of luck to both the Devils and the Kings in what hopefully will be a very entertaining seven game Stanley Cup final.
Game 1 – Wednesday May 30′th 08:00 EDT NBC/CBC
Game 2- Saturday June 2′nd 08:00 EDT NBC/CBC
Game 3- Monday June 4′th 0800 EDT NBC Sports/CBC
Game 4- Wednesday June 5′th 0800 EDT NBC Sports/CBC
Game 5- Saturday June 9′th 0800 EDT NBC/CBC*
Game 6- Monday June 11′th 0800 EDT NBC/CBC*
Game 7- Wednesday June 13′th 0800 EDT NBC/CBC*
The NHL looks to have wanted to make certain the Kings had no advantage in the series starting all games at 05:00 Pacific, excellent marketing strategy. Nothing says we want your business more than scheduling games when people can’t/won’t watch in sunny California. In any event, my prediction for this on will b e the Kings in 6.