LA Kings v New Jersey Devils: the road to the Stanley Cup 2012 finals - in pictures

It has taken 80 games, a few fights, some suspensions and a lot of drama for the LA Kings and the New Jersey Devils to reach the Stanley Cup finals. Here we relive the thrills and spills, from Sidney Crosby and Claude Giroux fighting to Martin Brodeur leading the New Jersey Devils to triumph over the New York Rangers
The Road to the 2012 Stanley Cup finals
NHL QF: LA Kings Dustin Brown scores a goal vs Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks came with high hopes as the Presidents' Cup winners and last year's Stanley Cup finalists. They were swiftly dispatched by an eighth-seeded LA Kings side that few had seen coming
Photograph: Danny Moloshock/Reuters
NHL QF: Chicago Blackhawks' Marian Hossa
The first round of the playoffs was marked by some brutal hits, fights and then more fights. Here Chicago Blackhawks' Marian Hossa is checked by Phoenix Coyotes' Raffi Torres. Hossa was taken from the ice on stretcher. The Coyotes won the series Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters
NHL QF: Pittsburgh Penguins' Crosby fights with Philadelphia Flyers' Giroux
An extraordinary series between fierce rivals the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers saw see-saw tussles, goals galore and even a fight between star players Sidney Crosby and Claude Giroux. The Flyers won the series 4-1 Photograph: Tim Shaffer/Reuters
NHL QF: Capitals Ovechkin
The Boston Bruins, the Stanley Cup holders, battled through seven games against the Washington Capitals and superstar Alex Ovechkin before being dumped out of the playoffs Photograph: Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters
NHL QF: Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Baird
More than just hockey, the New York Rangers versus the Washington Capitals became a series for political bragging rights as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird made a wager which would involve the loser wearing the other's jersey. The former First Lady won that one - in seven
Photograph: J Scott Applewhite/AP
Photograph: J. Scott Applewhite/AP
NHL QF: Ottawa Senators and the New York Rangers fight
The politicians may have been enjoying some gentle banter, but on the ice the early stages of the Ottawa Senators vs. New York Rangers series were brutal. It took the Rangers seven games to advance too Photograph: Ray Stubblebine/Reuters
NHL QF: New Jersey Devils' Ilya Kovalchuk
New Jersey Devils' Ilya Kovalchuk scores against Florida Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen in what turned into an unexpectedly epic series Photograph: Ray Stubblebine/Reuters
NHL QF: Devils vs Panthers
New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur can finally smile after the Devils defeated the Florida Panthers in double overtime in Game 7 Photograph: Rhona Wise/Reuters
NHL QF: St. Louis Blues' Vladimir Sobotka
The St. Louis Blues gave their fans high hopes with a smooth series victory over the San Jose Sharks. Here Vladimir Sobotka goes flying into the goal over Sharks goalie Antti Niemi. The Blues were to meet stiffer opposition in the next round though... Photograph: Jeff Roberson/AP
NHL SF: LA Kings vs St Louis Blues
The Los Angeles Kings swept aside the St. Louis Blues 4-0 in the conference semi-finals. And goalie Jonathan Quick – here stopping a shot by Alex Pietrangelo – was a key factor
Photograph: Mark J Terrill/AP
Photograph: Mark J. Terrill/AP
NHL SF: New Jersey Devils vs Philadelphia Flyers
After their heated battle with the Penguins, the Philadelphia Flyers found the New Jersey Devils too hot to handle Photograph: Matt Slocum/AP
NHL SF: Phoenix Coyotes vs Nashville Predators
Where were they during the regular season? Phoenix Coyotes fans cheer on their team as they head to the Western Conference finals with victory against the Nashville Predators Photograph: Darryl Webb/Reuters
NHL SF: NY Rangers vs Washington Capitals
New York's Brad Richards celebrates Michael del Zotto's third-period goal past Washington's goalie Braden Holtby and the Rangers finally dispose of the Capitals in another Game 7 Photograph: Kathy Willens/AP
NHL playoffs: LA Kings celebrate against Phoenix
The LA Kings are going to the Stanley Cup finals! The team celebrates overtime victory over the Coyotes in game five Photograph: Todd Korol/Reuters
NHL playoffs: Rangers and Devils clash
The Devils and the Rangers fought a feisty eastern conference finals packed with drama, goals and fracas before the Devils finally took the series. Here Mike Rupp of the NY Rangers and New Jersey's Anton Volchenkov square up as Marty Brodeur looks on Photograph: Ray Stubblebine/Reuters


Steve Busfield

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