Here’s a recap of Round 3

    Western Conference Prediction:

  • Los Angeles over Phoenix in 6 games – I was off by one game. Shane Doan and Mike Smith definitely think that it should have gone to at least six.

    Eastern Conference Prediction:

  • NY Rangers over New Jersey in 7 games – Credit to the Devils for solving Lundqvist. Lack of a scoring punch was the undoing for the Blueshirts

Overall third round results: 1 of 2 winners.
Overall playoff results: 7 of 14 winners, two series correct in both winners and number of games (both first round).

So who’ll hoist the holy grail of hockey in 2012?

Stanley Cup Final Prediction:
What’s not to like about a Hollywood team living out a Hollywood script?

The Kings have superstars – nay Conn Smythe Trophy candidates – at every position; forward Dustin Brown, defenceman Drew Doughty and goaltender Jonathan Quick.

When LA won Game 2 of the Western Conference Final against Phoenix, they became just the fifth team in nearly three decades to win 10 of their first 11 playoff games. The feat put them in some elite company, considering the talent that played on the Oilers in 1983 and 1988, the Red Wings in 1996, and the Penguins in 2008.

But here’s the rub. Only one of those four teams listed actually went on to win the Stanley Cup; that was when Wayne Gretzky played in what turned out to be his Edmonton swansong, three months before “The Trade” in ’88.

What was missing with those other three teams? Rhythm. A balanced schedule. (oh yeah, and more experienced versions of Gretzky and Mark Messier).

Fast forward to 2012. This isn’t to discredit the Kings accomplishment of knocking off the top seeded teams in the West. But the nod goes to the Devils in facing the adversity of a Game Seven already in these playoffs. Thanks to Adam Henrique’s heroics against the Panthers, New Jersey can even be mentioned in this conversation.

Martin Brodeur is on a mission to claim that fourth Stanley Cup to tie Patrick Roy. Yes Brodeur is 40. And yes, he didn’t look particularly good on that goal to the Rangers’ Marian Gaborik in Game 5. See also the entry in Quick’s game log that reads “Morris, Derek.” Both keepers get a mulligan. But the edge still goes to the three-time winner.

Here’s giving the nod to 2003 Cup holdovers Brodeur and Patrik Elias, but also to veterans looking for redemption after finishing as finalists, once upon a time; namely Anton Volchenkov whose Senators were manhandled by the 2007 Ducks, and Dainius Zubrus, who tasted the Stanley Cup Final as a rookie in 1997 with the Flyers only to be swept away by the Steve Yzerman-led Red Wings.

No, we haven’t forgotten about the dynamic Kings duo Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, one-time Flyers teammates who endured heartbreak at the hands of the Blackhawks two years ago. They’ll be hungry as well. And that’s why Los Angeles will keep the series close.

The Final will indeed have a made-for-TV script. The proclamation is that it will favour less of “L.A. Law” and more of “Jersey Shore”.

Prediction: New Jersey over Los Angeles in 7 games

Rob Del Mundo is the author of Blue And White Beat, and is a regular columnist at

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