Everyone should have known that the New Jersey Devils were going to win Game 4. Not only would it be fitting for the Los Angeles Kings to win the Stanley Cup on the road, but the road team has been dominating the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The road domination starts with the Kings who are a perfect 10-0 away from the Staples Center during the playoffs. The road team has won three of the four games of the Stanley Cup Final so far, but this is a trend that started early in the first round.
The road teams went a ridiculous 30-18 in the opening round of the playoffs. That is a .625 winning percentage, which is unheard of! We were witnesses to road team domination in the Blackhawks series with the Phoenix Coyotes. Game 1 was the only game in which the home team won. The Blackhawks lost all 3 games played at the United Center, with both of their series wins coming in Arizona. Three series went to seven games, and two of those games were won by the road team. The Devils won game seven versus the Florida Panthers in Sunrise and the Washington Capitals ended the reign of the Boston Bruins with a victory in Bean Town. The second round was the only round of this year’s playoffs where home ice advantage actually worked. The home team went 14-7 in the second round. The road team regained it’s advantage in the Conference Finals by going 7-4.
There have been 84 games played in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs so far and the road team has a record of 47-37. I can never remember a year where so many teams struggled to win at home. What is the reason for this? Doesn’t home ice advantage mean anything any more? I am sure we could spent days looking at different theories on why there is home ice disadvantage in this year’s playoffs. The salary cap could be doing its job and creating a level playing field across the league. Parity does make the teams more evenly matched from top to bottom. Could some teams feel more pressure playing in front of their own fans? I’m no sports psychologist but that could be a reason. My guess is, it is just one of those freak occurrences that just happens from time to time. Hockey is a very unpredictable game, full of weird bounces and goofy plays that can swing the momentum of a single game or an entire series. That is why hockey is the greatest game on the planet and why the Stanley Cup Playoffs is must see television. If you look at the trends and the numbers you can bet the farm that the Kings will take home the Cup on Saturday night, on the road!