The Matchup: New Jersey Devils (36-26-8) vs. the Los Angeles Kings (39-26-6 SBNation: Jewels From The Crown)
The Time: 4:00 PM EST
The Broadcast: MSG+
The Usual Suspects: The LA Kings have been lead by the same people that lead them every year, and a come-back season for captain Dustin Brown. Anze Kopitar is a Hart Trophy contender, with 80 points through 71 games, including 29 goals. Drew Doughty is, as usual, the star defender he was expected to be, with 9 goals and 42 assists. Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson provide quality scoring as well, with 42 and 35 points respectably. Meanwhile, rookies Adrian Kempe and Alex Iafallo provide good depth scoring. This Kings team is well-balanced, and the 2nd-best defensive team in the NHL according to goals against.
The Last Game Played: The last game played between the Devils and Kings was a 5-1 drubbing by the Devils. Taylor Hall scored two, while Travis Zajac, Brian Boyle, and Brian Gibbons scored the other goals (Fun Fact: This was when Brian Gibbons was still leading the team in goals). Record-wise, the Kings were the better team, but this game wasn’t really that close. Hopefully, history can repeat itself.
Playoff Standings: Unfortunately, during this small break for the Devils, the Blue Jackets and Panthers both won their games, so the situation is still very tight. A win here against this Kings team would be amazing for the Devils, so we should expect a very hard-fought game.
So... What do you think? Who will win? Who will score first? Let me know in the comments below, and take care.