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Round 2
Round 3
Stanley Cup Final

Why Los Angeles will win the Cup

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The Los Angeles Kings are one of the two "Second Six" teams never to drink out of the Stanley Cup. But after fighting their way through a wild scramble and overcoming a season-long offensive funk, the Kings are poised to end that drought and become 2012 Stanley Cup Champions.

The Big Why: You can't win a championship without goaltending, and the Kings have one of the NHL's best in net.

Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Quick
Goalie - LAK
RECORD: 35-21-13
GAA: 1.95 | SVP: 0.929

Jonathan Quick has climbed from the ECHL to the AHL to the NHL and morphed into an All-Star and a candidate for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender. Quick leads the NHL with 10 shutouts and has been among the top three in goals-against average and save percentage for most of the season. He's done it all despite playing on a team for which every goal was a cause for celebration, meaning that he's already used to playing in tight, playoff-style contests.

The Big Uh-Oh: Despite his superb stats, Quick has won barely half of his starts -- mostly because his offense has struggled to put the puck in the net. Quick has lost nine games this season when he's allowed one goal or less. Even All-Star goaltenders need some offensive support.

Though Jeff Carter hasn't exactly filled the net since his arrival in a late-February trade with Columbus, the offense has improved since he came to Los Angeles. Still, the Kings are one of the handful of teams that won't break the 200-goal mark, and finishing No. 29 in offense doesn't foreshadow good things to come in the postseason, when the checking gets even tighter.

Drew Doughty
Drew Doughty
Defense - LAK
GOALS: 10 | ASST: 26 | PTS: 36
SOG: 168 | +/-: -2

Final Argument: Top-flight goaltenders steal wins in the Stanley Cup Pplayoffs, and the Kings have one of the NHL's best in Quick. Add in one of the NHL's top young puck-moving defensemen in Drew Doughty, an excellent one-two punch down the middle in Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards, a sniper like Carter and a grinding-style team that's basically been playing playoff-style hockey for months, and it adds up to a team that will bring the Stanley Cup to the City of Angels for the first time since the Kings joined the NHL 45 years ago.

Follow John Kreiser on Twitter: @jkreiser7nhl

For me, it's a great win for our hockey team and for a lot of people back in Columbus, especially our fans in particular … people who have been devoted to this organization, it's big.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards on their win vs. the Penguins in Game 2, the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff victory