Now here we are……..please note there will be no Saturday posts but a Sunday one to The Hockey Writers as the “Battle For The Cup” continues.
It is Saturday already and time for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Los Angeles Kings and the New Jersey Devils. When you have an eight seed up against a six seed, one has to say that this is just highly unlikely and yet it happened. A sign of the casual fan invading this type of series would be what happened on ESPN SportsNation with 49 of 50 states picking Los Angeles to win the silver chalice when all is said and done in the next couple weeks or less. Polls are often very inaccurate and reflect public sentiment as opposed to talent. This is why we take it to the next level with simulations.
The Los Angeles Kings found a way to win Game 1 in overtime as Anze Kopitar scored on a mid-ice breakway 8:13 into the extra session. The 2-1 win was not exactly a fantasy boon for those who still have players in the Final. However, people who have Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk probably cringed some after this one. Drew Doughty set up the partial break by the way and did look good at times along with the Kings fourth line. The Devils fourth line was okay but could not match the energy level and intensity of the Kings third and fourth lines. That was a bit of a surprise especially for a first game of a series.
It does get a bit more hairy when you bring the experts into the equation. The wide consensus is that this series will still go six or seven and the fact that the Kings won Game 1 may anger New Jersey. The key is New Jersey has to pass the puck better. That will set up chances and then the next trick is to execute. Los Angeles was able to convert chances better to be honest. Dustin Brown and Dustin Penner were actually somewhat neutralized but they were able to help bottle in the Devils during the first 40 minutes. It is clear that New Jersey has to play with pace. The slower the game is played, the more LA will be favored and rightfully so.
FANTASY X Factors:
Dustin Penner, LW, Los Angeles Kings
Penner has been killed all year and been made fun of the whole “pancake injury”. If he is motivated, Dustin Penner is the perfect power forward to have in the playoffs. Clearly this King is engaged in the action and he is a huge reason why the Kings are in the Finals. Think about this for a second, Penner is big, fast, and skilled. This will spell problems for the Devils defense and how they play guys like Penner and then Dustin Brown will likely determine their fate. It will be interesting to see when Devils’ Coach Peter DeBoer uses all of his cards and when. Penner is a game changer and deck shuffler at the very least. Even in Game 2, Penner is still a considerable X factor.
Zach Parise, W, New Jersey Devils
At some point Parise has to get going early in series. In the previous three rounds, Parise has done barely anything of note early on before coming alive. Game 2 is absolutely a must here for the Captain who some have questioned his “nerves”. It is put up or shut up time here as Los Angeles contained Parise and his linemates. More importantly, they exposed Parise’s line defensively which has been somewhat of an issue in these playoffs. If the Devils are to win Game 2, Parise has to fight through all the checks and shots and find a way to convert opportunities as well as set them up.
Saturday, June 2, 2012
|Los Angeles||at||New Jersey||8:00 PM|
Well this is only Game 2 but this is must win territory for the New Jersey Devils. This actually may be a must win for LA also. Why? Los Angeles has not played as well at home in these playoffs and New Jersey is very adept at playing away from the Prudential Canter. They always have been. The keys are obvious and both teams “felt each other out” in the first game. There wil be no more of that from here on out but I like how Los Angeles slowed the game down. They have to do more of that to lull New Jersey in before springing their counterattack which is faster than New Jersey could handle at times. After all, it led to the Kopitar OT goal.
Intangibles will play a big role in Game 2 and the rest issue will likely be mentioned enough times to make anyone sick of it.
Anyway here is our sim for tonight……
NHL 12 Sim — Kings @ Devils Game 2
What are we going to do? Simply, we are going to run the NHL 12 sims for Game 2. The Kings and Devils are fairly even in theory. It is all the intangibles that will play out throughout the rest of this series that will ultimately determine it. It is time.
It comes down to the Battle Of The Coasts, this simulation just had to come as these always have fantasy purposes along with fun prognostication. We played a total of seven games and this is what we came up with for our prediction. Again keep in mind, this may not happen obviously. Simply the rivalry deserves the utmost of respect in how the sims are run. Here were our results.
Devils-Kings Game 2
LAK – Jared Stoll (14:22, unassisted)
LAK – Anze Kopitar (5:23, PP, Brown and Williams)
NJD – Zach Parise (18:24, Elias)
NJD – Stephen Gionta (11:23. Carter and Salvador)
LAK – Dustin Penner (16:44, Doughty)
LAK- 27, NJD- 29
LAK- 1/3, NJD- 0/3
Final: Kings 3 Devils 2
1. Jonathan Quickk 2. Dustin Penner 3. Zach Parise
The game is just hours away and if it approaches anything like the sims, it will be an awfully good one. We literally had some more consensus on this one so who knows what that will ultimately mean. Can New Jersey play its style or will Los Angeles impose more of its will? Time will tell but the sims seemed to dictate more of the same tonight. Let’s see what happens and again thanks for reading.
For the oh by the way…..the sims ranged wildly in Game 2 but not score wise oddly enough like in Game 1. What was clear is that somewhere between 4 and 6 goals would be scored combined. Clearly, a 3-2 margin either way was the most popular scenario as it came up in all but one of the sims when we ran it. Stay tuned as Game 2 could be a lot more of the unexpected. Enjoy this one ladies and gentlemen!