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NHL Stanley Cup Finals Preview: Devils and Kings Series Has Both Team and Individual Sub-Plots

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Published on May 30, 2012

After impressive conference finals victories, the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils are set to square off in the Stanley Cup Finals. Game 1 will be held Wednesday at 8 PM in New Jersey. Subscribe to SB Nation for more NHL Playoffs coverage and your daily dose of sports, humor, and story-telling.

In addition to the compelling team story-lines, there's also individual sub-plots worth keeping an eye on. First, there's the ageless Martin Brodeur, who continues to pad his lead atop the playoff record books. Then there's the spotlight on star players for both teams who are re-writing their public image:

- New Jersey's Ilya Kovalchuk, who has long been labeled a selfish offensive specialist, but is now getting credit for playing a complete game
- On LA's side, Mike Richards & Jeff Carter, who were shipped out of Philadelphia last summer for being locker room cancers, but have now led the Kings to an improbable run to the Finals
- Finally, Dustin Penner of the Kings is shaking off the "overrated" label, which has been dogging him since he was poached by Edmonton from Anaheim after the Ducks' Cup-winning run in 2007. The move is still notable because to date, it is the most recent time that an NHL restricted free agent has changed teams on account of an offer sheet.

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