Stanley Cup Finals betting: Los Angeles Kings at New Jersey Devils, Game 1
It’s a stunning matchup in this year’s Stanley Cup Finals as the No. 8 seed Los Angeles Kings and No. 6 New Jersey Devils face off in Game 1 on Wednesday night in Newark. The Kings are -175 series favorites on WagerWeb.com and -115 Game 1 favorites.
Why is a No. 8 seed the favorite? Because the Kings are red-hot, having lost just twice so far in these playoffs. They eliminated No. 1 Vancouver, No. 2 St. Louis and No. 3 Phoenix in the West Finals to become just the second No. 8 to reach the Stanley Cup Finals (2006 Edmonton).
After losing Game 4 of the West Finals at home, Los Angeles closed out Phoenix in the desert last Tuesday for its NHL-record eighth straight road victory of the playoffs. The Kings became the first team to go undefeated on the road en route to the Stanley Cup finals and have won 10 straight road playoff games over two seasons, another record. The Kings have never won a Stanley Cup and this is only their second visit – the other game when they lost in five games (with Wayne Gretzky) to the Montreal Canadiens in 1993.
The Kings are led by goalie Jonathan Quick, who leads the playoffs in wins, goals-against average and saves. Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar lead the way on offense with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Both players are a playoff-leading plus-13.
This is the fifth Finals trip for New Jersey, which is looking for its fourth championship. The Devils were on the ropes in the first round, down 3-2 to Florida before winning the final two games. Then New Jersey lost the opener of the second round before taking four straight vs. the Philadelphia Flyers. And in the East Finals, the New York Rangers were up 2-1 in the series before the Devils won the final three games.
This could be the final series in the career of Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur, although the 40-year-old says he wants to return next year regardless of what happens here. This also could be the final series as a Devil for stud forward Zach Parise as he will be a free agent this offseason. The Devils’ attack starts with Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk, who are playing on separate lines after spending most of the season together. Kovalchuk leads the Devils with 18 points in the playoffs, while Parise has 14.
There is little to be gleaned from the regular season as to which team will prevail. The clubs met twice in October and New Jersey won both games, 3-0 and 2-1 in a shootout. The 3-0 game featured backup goalies Johan Hedberg and Jonathan Bernier. The 2-1 game saw Brodeur leave early with an injury.