While the cities they represent are as different as hot dogs and sushi, the contrasts between the Stanley Cup-bound Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils are not as obvious.
New Jersey, long portrayed as home to mobsters, may be the polar opposite to Los Angeles, the sunny home to the rich and famous, but the Kings and Devils are remarkably similar, setting the stage for what should a challenging best-of-seven series starting on Wednesday.
Shoot first, ask questions later:
Loaded with offensive panache and flair, the Devils and Kings have been among the two highest-scoring teams in the post-season and play an attractive attacking brand of hockey.
New Jersey captain Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac all have seven goals while rookie Adam Henrique stepped up to the occasion with two overtime-winning goals, including one that clinched the Devils' berth in the finals.
Kovalchuk, who signed a 15-year $100 million deal with the Devils in 2010, is earning his money by leading all playoff scorers with 18 points in 17 games.
The Kings can also flex some offensive muscle, hard-nosed captain Dustin Brown leading the way with seven goals and 16 points followed closely by Slovenian sensation Anze Kopitar with 15 points and reunited Philadelphia Flyers team mates Mike Richards and Jeff Carter with 11 and nine points respectively.
After scoring just 17 points in the regular season, Dustin Penner has been a difference maker in the playoffs with seven assists and three goals, including the overtime winner against the Phoenix Coyotes that put the Kings through to the finals.
The puck stops here:
New Jersey and Los Angeles are both loaded with offensive weapons but the finals could see few goals with the Devils' Martin Brodeur and Kings' Jonathan Quick having stolen the post-season spotlight with brilliant play between the pipes.
The finals provide the stage for an intriguing goaltending duel between 40-year-old warhorse Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner, and Quick, the leading candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs.
Brodeur, the NHL's all-time leader in wins and shutouts, has turned back the clock with some vintage play and knows what it takes to win having played in four Cup finals and helping Canada to two Olympic gold medals.
Quick, who has given up two or fewer goals in 12 of 14 post-season contests, has been the best puck stopper in the playoffs with a miniscule 1.54 goals-against average while posting two shutouts.
Momentum, who has it? The red-hot Kings have been on a roll, stampeding through three best-of-seven series with a 12-2 record to reach the final for the first time since 1993.
But the Kings have been cooling their heels for seven days since brushing aside the Phoenix Coyotes and could need a few periods to knock the rust off and get back in high gear.
Momentum may well be with the Devils, who host the opening two games and are still riding the high from knocking out the rival New York Rangers last week. Adding to their confidence, the Devils won both regular season meetings with the Kings.
Isn't that special:
Special teams play an important role in any playoff series and the finals even more so.
The Kings will need more production out of a sputtering powerplay unit that has converted just six of 74 man-advantage situations. The Kings' penalty kill unit, however, has been a different story, killing 52-of-57 man-advantages while scoring a playoff record five shorthanded goals.
New Jersey's powerplay, limping along at 18.2 percent, could also use a boost, converting just 3-of-23 chances against the New York Rangers in the East final. The Devils have also surrendered 16 goals.