Members of the New Jersey Devils skate during practice in preparation for Wednesday's Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final series against the Los Angeles Kings, Tuesday, May 29, 2012, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
No. 6 (East) NEW JERSEY DEVILS (48-28-6) vs. No. 8 (West) LOS ANGELES KINGS (40-27-15)
How they got here: New Jersey beat No. 3 Florida 4-3, No. 5 Philadelphia 4-1, and No. 1 New York Rangers 4-2. Los Angeles beat No. 1 Vancouver 4-1, No. 2 St. Louis 4-0, and No. 3 Phoenix 4-1.
2011-12 series record: Devils 2-0 (one win in shootout).
Playoff History: First meeting.
NEW JERSEY: The Devils are in the Stanley Cup finals for the fifth time and are looking for their fourth title. New Jersey captured the Cup in 1995, 2000 and 2003, with its only finals loss to Colorado in 2001. ... Martin Brodeur has been there for all the finals appearances, and could call it a career at age 40 once this series is over—win or lose. Forward Patrik Elias has been in all of New Jersey's trips to the finals, except for the first in 1995. ... Brodeur injured his right shoulder against the Kings on Oct. 13 and missed six games. He didn't earn his first win of the season until Nov. 5. Backup goalie Johan Hedberg earned both of New Jersey's wins over the Kings, with the first coming in relief after Brodeur was injured. Hedberg, who has played only 36 minutes in the playoffs this season, was in for all but one period in the regular-season games against Los Angeles. He stopped 31 Kings shots on Oct. 25 for his 18th NHL shutout. ... Captain Zach Parise leads the Devils with seven playoff goals and is second with 14 points. He led the way in the conference finals against the Rangers when he had six points (3 goals, 3 assists) in the series. This could be the last hurrah for Parise with New Jersey as he is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July 1. ... The Devils finished with 102 regular-season points, but that was only good for fourth best in the Atlantic Division. The finals will be the first series this year in which New Jersey has home-ice advantage.
LOS ANGELES: The Kings have reached the finals for just the second time in team history. Los Angeles is still looking for its first Stanley Cup championship, having lost in five games to Montreal in 1993. ... The Kings have won an NHL-record eight straight road playoff games—the first team to do it in one playoff year—including three at Phoenix in the Western Conference finals. Los Angeles, which has outscored opponents 30-13 in its road games, has won 10 straight away from home—a record for multiple years. The Kings are the first team to take an undefeated road record into the finals since the conference format started in 1994. ... The Kings are the second No. 8 seed to get to the finals under the current post-season format and the first to eliminate the top three seeded teams in the conference in succession. ... Los Angeles has excelled behind Vezina Trophy finalist Jonathan Quick, who is 12-2 with a 1.54 goals-against average and .946 save percentage in the playoffs. He has allowed only 22 goals in 14 games. ... On offence, the Kings are paced by their top line of captain Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams. That trio was especially dominant in the second-round win over St. Louis when they combined for six goals and nine assists in the four-game sweep. ... Left wing Simon Gagne could be a Kings wild card, having been medically cleared to play for the first time since a concussion sidelined him on Dec. 26. It might take another injury for a lineup spot to open up for Gagne, who made it to the Cup finals two years ago with Philadelphia.