Originally written on centericechat.com  |  Last updated 10/22/14
Forget the statistics and hot streaks heading into the Stanley Cup Finals.  There’s very little to go off of in determining the advantages between the No. 8 seed Los Angeles Kings and No. 6 seed New Jersey Devils.  Jonathan Quick’s playoffs-leading GAA (1.54) and save percentage (.946) may be as misleading as Martin Brodeur’s experience. And the Kings’ single-digit power play (8.1 percent) this playoffs hasn’t played a hinderance with a penalty kill of 91.2 percent. This series will be decided on character, not numbers. The Kings and Devils have both produced great clutch performances against some of the best-ranked teams. The biggest factor that compliments these characters may be momentum. But who’s riding the biggest wave? Argument: The Devils have built themselves up in the playoffs with tougher competition while the Kings have seen their competition dwindle. The Devils bounced the Florida Panthers in the first round, but were ultimately tested in Round 2 against the Philadelphia Flyers. However, the Flyers were more than a few tweaks from healthy, and had a poor outing after a high-scoring series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. But, the Devils got the chance to go against the biggest threat in the Eastern Conference in the New York Rangers, and earned their series win. Meanwhile, the Kings when in defending order, eliminating the No. 1 seed, followed by the No.2-seeded St. Louis Blues and then the Phoenix Coyotes, who were another underdog team in the Western Conference Finals. But for the next four to seven games, expect the usual stars to shine. There will be more from Dustin Brown, Dustin Penner, Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise, and many more. While both teams have gone the distance in turning sinking franchises into Cup contenders, the Devils may have done so with quicker  with a 10-29-2 record in January, 2011. It’s been a road well-traveled for both as the Kings have gone through a lot of changes too, this season from coaching to beefing up their offense. But as mentioned before, it’ll be a breakout of characters, and supporting cast. Both teams have shown they aren’t shy of either. But one will stand out more than the other. Prediction: New Jersey Devils in 7 games. Matthew Wilson is editor of Center Ice Chat. Follow him on Twitter @Mattjw24. Be sure to also Like us on Facebook and to Follow our Tumblr page. If you'd like to contribute, or appear as a guest columnist, please email us at CenterIceChat@gmail.com.

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