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Devils-Kings Stanley Cup preview: Who has better karma?

Sean Leahy
Puck Daddy

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Leading up to Wednesday's Game 1, Puck Daddy is previewing every facet of the Stanley Cup Finals between the New Jersey Devils and the Los Angeles Kings— on the ice and off the ice.

When playing for the Stanley Cup, it means you've gotten your share of breaks along the way.

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Those lucky bounces are reserved for only so many teams. So whether it's Adam Henrique turning into an overtime god or Dustin Penner turning into an offensive machine, the sun shines aplenty on your if you're playing this late in the season.

Both the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils have followed that yellow brick road to this point. The Kings were a mess at one point in the season, yet here they are. The Devils were expected to get smoked by the Philadelphia Flyers in Round 2 and expected to lay down in the Conference Final so the New York Rangers could rekindle some 1994 magic.

They did neither.

[Related: Who has the better goaltending, New Jersey Devils or Los Angeles Kings?

Of course, we're down to two teams and only one will receive the final break of luck.

So which team has the better karma heading into Game 1?

Los Angeles Kings

Since 2008, one team that began their season participating in the NHL Premiere games in Europe has gone on to the win the Stanley Cup that same year.

The Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins had the extra travel thrown into their schedules, but didn't affect them en route to playing (and winning) in June.

This year, the Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers ventured to Europe to begin the year. Los Angeles is the last hope in keeping that bit of trivia alive.

The Vancouver Canucks could also play a role in a Cup triumph for the Kings. In each of the past two seasons the team that's knocked out Vancouver has won in the end. The Chicago Blackhawks won their second round series in 2010 and, of course, the Boston Bruins were crowned champions a year ago after defeating the Canucks in seven games.

Vancouver was dispatched in five games by the Kings in Round 1 and helped create this monster that breezed through the next two rounds. Are the Devils capable of slowing them down?

New Jersey Devils

Whether or not you believe the Devils exorcised their demons from 1994, despite their three Cups since, it must have been cathartic in a way to knock out the Rangers in a conference final on an overtime goal. Knocking out another divisional rival in Philadelphia in Round 2 has to add to the specialness of this Devils run.

And it's that second-round victory that lends some good mojo their way. In defeating the Philadelphia Flyers in five games, New Jersey -- like the Canucks' opponents the past two season -- could become the fourth straight team to accomplish that feat and go on and win the Cup. The Pittsburgh Penguins knocked Philly out in 2009 in the first round; Chicago did so in the 2010 Final; and the Boston Bruins achieved a measure of revenge in 2011 in the second round after blowing a 3-0 series lead the year before.

Remember when the Flyers accused the Pittsburgh Penguins of trying to avoid meeting them in the playoffs last season?

Who knew they had it backwards?

Advantage: Even

Little factoids like the ones listed above are nice when you're shooting the breeze with your buddies at the bar, but in the end we all know it comes down to who pleases the hockey gods more.

There's also the fact that neither captain touched their respective conference trophy. How are the hockey gods supposed to determine who really wants the big trophy more?

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

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