NHL Playoff Predictions 2012: L.A. Kings over New Jersey Devils for the Cup

With the final four teams nearly set for the 2012 NHL playoffs, it's a great time to make some predictions on which club will win the Stanley Cup.

Two southwestern teams will play in the Western Conference finals, while the Eastern Conference will stay in the northeast.

One is a Highway-10 series between the Los Angeles Kings and the Phoenix Coyotes. The other is the Lincoln Tunnel series between the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers.

The Kings will slip by the Coyotes and the Devils will overcome the Rangers to set up the Stanley Cup finals. Then Los Angeles will outshoot New Jersey to win the cup.


Kings over Coyotes in Seven

Two red hot teams are going to flirt with burning out in a long, seven-game finals series.

It'll be the first time a series goes beyond six games in the West this postseason.

The Kings are hot for several reasons, including being infused with the trade deadline addition of Jeff Carter.

The forward played with Mike Richards on a Philadelphia Flyers team that made it to the 2010 Stanley Cup finals. That experience has been essential to the Kings going 8-1 in the playoffs against the conference's two top teams.

More reasons the Kings have sparkled these playoffs are bruising captain Dustin Brown (playoff-best plus/minus of plus-nine) and Vezina Trophy finalist Jonathan Quick (leading the Kings to playoff-best 1.56 goals against average).

Quick faces a fellow competitor in Mike Smith of Phoenix. The two are the best goalies in these playoffs who have played more than three games.

Phoenix's problem comes on offense, since the Coyotes cooled down in the past three games by scoring just three goals total.

The teams will push each other to the brink, but the Kings will be crowned conference champs at the end.


Devils over Rangers in Six

The ...

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