With all of the different storylines weaved into the Stanley Cup Finals between the Los Angeles Kings and the New Jersey Devils, it’s easy for some to fall through the cracks and not get much attention. But one storyline that seems to have gone with little mention is a major one — the opposites at opposite ends of the ice.
The Kings and Devils have both had surprising playoff runs, and a number of different contributors to their success. Two huge factors have been the goaltending of Jonathan Quick for the Kings (12-2-0 with a 1.58 goals-against and a save percentage of .946) and Martin Brodeur for the Devils (12-5-1 with a 2.04 GAA and a save percentage of .923).
At 26, Quick is playing in his very first Stanley Cup Final, and his phenomenal play so far in these playoffs is the biggest reason why the Kings are now just three wins away from lifting Lord Stanley’s Cup. Despite the fact that the Kings were the lowest-scoring team in the league at one point this season, they managed to still secure a playoff spot, thanks in gigantic part to Quick. His goaltending during the regular season earned him a Vezina Trophy nomination, and he looks to be the favorite to win as not only has he played very well, but also as he is now the only nominee left in the playoffs.
The 40-year-old Martin Brodeur has three Stanley Cup victories under his belt in his 21 years with the Devils. He is a future Hall of Famer, and, like Quick, is a big reason why the Devils have gotten this far. Though he was not a finalist for the Vezina this season, his stellar goaltending played a big role in the Devils’ playoff run and their postseason success. He’s been their “old standby” in net for the duration of his career, and has never given less than 100 percent every time he takes the ice. Stanley Cup win or not this time around, he’s already engraved his name into hockey history.
So when the snow settles, who will be parading the Cup around the ice with his teammates in tow: the young gun, or the old veteran?
Both of these men have the potential to be a Cup winner when this series is over. Neither one is lacking talent or skill. They’re both hungry – Quick for his first championship win, and Brodeur for the fourth notch in his belt. And they’ve both got terrific teams playing in front of them. Even though Quick and the Kings won Game 1, it could still be anyone’s series.
Whether you’re rooting for the Devils, rooting for the Kings, or just watching the Finals because you miss hockey ever since your team got eliminated, keep an eye on the guys in their respective nets. They’re both going to give you plenty to watch, and plenty of which to be in awe.