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(TODD KOROL)
(TODD KOROL)

Analysis

Devils v. Kings: <br>A Stanley Cup final tale of the tape</br> Add to ...

Given their performance through three rounds of the playoffs, it's tempting to say the New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings either underperformed during the season or overperformed so far in the postseason.

After all, we're dealing with a sixth seed and an eighth seed, meaning the lowest seeded team ever under this format will win the Stanley Cup.

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The previous holder of that mark? The 1995 Devils, who were fifth in the East when they won it all in the lockout shortened season.

I would lean toward saying both teams underperformed during the season, as these are deep rosters that experienced some significant change throughout the course of the year.

The Devils got Travis Zajac back from injury and added key depth in the form of Marek Zidlicky and Steve Bernier in midseason. The Kings changed coaches and made the Jack Johnson for Jeff Carter swap that seemed to change their season around.

Both teams had terrific records late in the year, with New Jersey putting up a 39-18-4 record (including the playoffs) since early January and Los Angeles going 25-7-3 since adding Carter near the trade deadline.

Here's a closer look at the season these two teams have had, statistically speaking:

The playoffs



Devils

Kings

Average height

6'1.1"

6'1.2"

Average weight

203.7

207.9

Average age

30.0

26.5

Points percentage

0.667

0.857

Goals per game

2.83

2.93

Goals against pg

2.33

1.57

Power play

18.2%

8.1%

Penalty kill

74.2%

91.2%

PP per game

3.67

5.29

PK per game

3.44

4.07

Shooting percentage

9.3%

8.9%

Save percentage

0.916

0.946

Shots per game

30.4

32.9

Shots against pg

27.6

29.0

Faceoffs

47.5%

48.2%

Hits per game

29.7

36.4

Blocked shots pg

11.3

14.1

Fenwick close

57.23

54.78

A few things of note in there: These teams' average age is one of the biggest divides in the series, as the Devils were the oldest team in the NHL this season and the Kings were tied as the second youngest. (One big area that shows up in goal.)

These are both relatively big teams, but Los Angeles has the edge there with Dustin Penner, Dwight King, Matt Greene, Anze Kopitar and Rob Scuderi all at 220 or bigger. New Jersey's big boys are mostly skilled forwards like Ilya Kovalchuk.

(The Kings have only four regular skaters at 195 pounds or less and they're all forwards; the Devils have nine, including three defencemen.)

The other major difference (and one you'll hear a lot about leading into this series) is in goal. Jonathan Quick's numbers are incredible, and if the Devils can't find a way to bring them down, they will lose this series.

The regular season



Devils

Kings

Points percentage

0.622

0.579

Goals per game

2.63

2.29

Goals against pg

2.50

2.07

Power play

17.2%

17.0%

Penalty kill

89.6%

87.0%

PP per game

3.25

3.52

PK per game

3.15

3.57

Shooting percentage

9.6%

7.5%

Save percentage

0.907

0.924

Shots per game

27.5

30.6

Shots against pg

26.8

27.4

Faceoffs

47.1%

51.5%

Hits per game

20.5

27.7

Blocked shots pg

11.3

11.8

Fenwick close

51.08

53.6

There are some drastic differences between the playoff and regular season numbers, but none stick out quite as much as the Kings' goal-scoring improvement. LA has been one of the NHL's lower scoring teams for two years in a row but have finally found a way to break through in these playoffs.

Their shooting percentage number during the regular season was abysmal.

These teams are even at special teams with one exception: The Devils are one of the most disciplined teams in the league and rarely go to the box, so that's something to watch as the struggling Kings power play isn't likely to get many chances.

And the goaltending difference was obviously considerable during the season.

Statistically speaking, here's how these teams shake out in terms of strengths and weaknesses:

New Jersey Devils

Strengths: Puck control, Kovalchuk, scoring depth, discipline, experience Weaknesses: Goaltending, faceoffs

Los Angeles Kings

Strengths: Goaltending, Kopitar line, centre, size/strength Weaknesses: Power play, inexperience

 

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