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by Brian Duff / Buffalo Sabres

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.

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