Kings vs. Devils: A Cinderella story


Kings vs. Devils: A Cinderella story

If someone told me back in March that the Kings and Devils would be going to the Stanley Cup finals, I would have thought that person is crazy. Heck, if you told me a week ago that Los Angeles and New Jersey would be the two advancing, I still wouldn't have believed it.

But after last night's 3-2 overtime win against the Rangers, the Devils will be returing to the finals since they won it all back in 2003. Both teams have different advantages that could make this upcoming series more exciting than some may think.


Jonathan Quick is the the number one reason the Kings qualified for the playoffs to begin with. He's recorded a .946 save percentage, two shutouts, earning himself a 1.54 goals against average during Los Angeles' 12-2 postseason run.

In the East, Martin Brodeur has earned a .923 save percentage and one shutout, recording a 2.04 GAA throughout the playoffs. He has led his team to a 12-5 record as they head into the finals.

Advantage: Kings


The Kings haven't been to the finals since 1993, and they were eliminated in five games against the Montreal Canadiens. They have yet to win a Stanley Cup. That wouldn't seem like too much of a setback after seeing how well they've played throughout the postseason, but the Devils' statistics would make any Los Angeles fan a little nervous.

Back in 1995 and 2003, the Devils competed in the finals against the Red Wings and then the Ducks; two teams that entered the series with a 12-2 record. New Jersey defeated both. Given the fact that the Devils have won three Stanley Cups since 1974 also gives them an advantage--the Kings' franchise hasn't been there before.

In addition, if you take a look at the regular season, the Devils defeated the Kings in both their matchups back in October. But I don't think those statistics should be applied when analyzing the postseason since Los Angeles has played at an entirely different level since the beginning of the year.

Advantage: Devils


This is a tough one. The Kings have clearly defied all odds by going from the worst offensive team in the league to a top-contender for the Cup, but their last two games against Phoenix were shaky. Los Angeles was dominated in Game 4, and their Game 5 series win could have gone either way during overtime.

The Devils' record isn't as impressive as the Kings, but their last two games were more impressive overall. Although Game 6 against the Rangers was also a pretty even match, their aggressive play in overtime led to their win rather quickly. Plus, they were definitely the more dominant team in their Game 5 victory.

Although New Jersey played better in their last two games leading up to the finals, their overall playoff run hasn't been as consistent as the Kings' has, and Los Angeles' team chemistry has been more difficult to defeat. As long as the Kings remain focused and don't allow another slip-up like they did against Phoenix, they will be the stronger team.
Advantage: Kings

My overall prediction: Kings in 6.
Who would you like to see take home the Stanley Cup this year, and what are your final series predictions?

Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick tells ESPN Brian Kelly will be back in 2017

Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick tells ESPN Brian Kelly will be back in 2017

Brian Kelly's job at Notre Dame apparently is not in jeopardy despite the team's 2-5 start to the 2016 season. 

Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick told that Kelly "will lead this team out of the tunnel opening day next year."

Kelly has come under fire for his perceived penchant for criticizing players before himself as well as his behavior on the sidelines as Notre Dame's chances of becoming bowl eligible have slipped this season. The seventh-year Irish coach, though, was praised for his relationship with his team by Swarbrick, who told ESPN it's "probably as strong as any that I've seen with him at Notre Dame." Multiple players said after Notre Dame's loss to Stanford last weekend that they didn't believe Kelly had lost the team

Kelly and Notre Dame agreed to a six-year contract extension in January that runs through the 2021 season. 

Brian Campbell, Trevor van Riemsdyk in vs. Columbus

Brian Campbell, Trevor van Riemsdyk in vs. Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Brian Campbell will be in the lineup after all, as will Trevor van Riemsdyk, when the Blackhawks face the Columbus Blue Jackets Friday night at Nationwide Arena.

Campbell appeared to be headed for healthy scratch status the past two days, when he was not among the top three defensive pairs at practice. But coach Joel Quenneville said Friday morning that Campbell is in. He would not say who was out.

“We want to get our defense in there. He’s been out too many games; we want him playing,” Quenneville said, referring to van Riemsdyk. “And we feel that there are seven D, they all deserve to play as well.”

The Blackhawks could go with seven defensemen. But considering Quenneville liked their four-line rotation better the last game, it would be a surprise if the Blackhawks changed that.

Ryan Hartman will play after missing the last two games with a lower-body injury.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Meanwhile, Artem Anisimov returns to Columbus for the first time since he was traded to the Blackhawks — he did not play in the regular-season finale here last April.

“I already experienced it when I was first traded to Columbus [from New York], but this feeling is different,” Anisimov said of being back here. “I don’t know how to describe it but it’s still weird coming back.”

The Blackhawks will see former teammate Brandon Saad, whose Blue Jackets are playing just their second game in six days. Columbus lost their opening two games.

“Yeah, it’s a little bit weird,” Saad said. “It’s almost like the season didn’t start with the break we had, so we’ve had a lot of practice and a lot of review. But we’re definitely looking to get back and paying games.”


Time: 6 p.m.

TV: CSN-Chicago

Radio: WGN 720AM

Projected lineups


Tyler Motte-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik

Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane

Vinnie Hinostroza-Nick Schmaltz-Ryan Hartman

Dennis Rasmussen-Marcus Kruger-Jordin Tootoo

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson

Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook

Trevor van Riemsdyk-Brian Campbell

Corey Crawford

Injuries: Marian Hossa (lower body), Andrew Desjardins (lower body).

Columbus Blue Jackets

Matt Calvert-Brandon Dubinsky-Cam Atkinson

Brandon Saad-Alexander Wennberg-Nick Foligno

Scott Hartnell-William Karlsson-Josh Anderson

Boone Jenner-Lukas Sedlak-Oliver Bjorkstrand

Ryan Murray-Seth Jones

Zach Werenski-David Savard

Jack Johnson-Markus Nutivaara

Sergei Bobrovsky