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THE DUFFER SAYS...

Wednesday, 05.30.2012 / 9:50 AM / News
By Brian Duff  - Sabres TV Host
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THE DUFFER SAYS...

Devils in seven.

There I said it. We’re done with predictions now right?

Talk about an exercise in futility!

Can you imagine if any/all media types were held accountable for their prognostications? Put it this way: the number of folks applying to do the weather on the nightly news would be unprecedented!

Allow me to say this though: to call this a surprising final match-up, or an unexpected one, isn’t really fair to those involved.

First of all, NOTHING is surprising in the NHL anymore. And for it to be unexpected, wouldn’t we have to narrow down what the expected was to begin with?

Think back to October. There were no ironclad locks for finalists. There were simply a lot of teams that had a chance. And as the year went on, any given month led us to believe that someone different might well be in the winner’s circle come June.

The New Jersey Devils had 102 points. The Boston Bruins from a year ago had 103.

The Los Angeles Kings were a team I loved in 2010. It just took them a lot longer than I expected for them to clear a postseason hurdle. And now that they’ve gotten the hang of it, they are sprinting towards the finish line. Not to mention, when the season began, the Kings were regarded very highly by many, so don’t let their first four months get in the way of what many thought the team could be.

As for the matchup itself, the scouting report if you will, it’s like so many we’ve seen the past 12 years. Very, very even. Maybe the most even.

It really is fun to go through the respective rosters and pit one player versus another. I don’t know how anyone could come away from that exercise believing that one of these teams is clearly superior.

To the best of my knowledge, our seven-year-old didn’t bother with that exercise when she picked LA in five. Of course she originally had Philly over LA when making her playoff predictions back in early April.

Needing a second opinion, I consulted with our five-year-old. She too, while sequestered in a different room, unable to hear the musings of her big sis, went with the Kings in five.

Her rationale? “They have really good players.”

Yes, yes they do.

I will agree with them that the Western champs have an edge in two key areas - a game breaking defenseman and goaltending.

Drew Doughty may find a way to walk away with the Conn Smythe. And despite having three fewer Cup rings than his counterpart, Jon Quick’s season to date numbers tell us he’s almost in a league of his own at this time.

But the Devils have Zach Parise.

So like I said in the beginning, I’ll take the Devils in seven.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82