A Devils fan’s worst nightmare has now become a reality.
The (P3) Los Angeles Kings and (M2) New York Rangers are set to play Game 1 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday.
The Rangers are coming off of a relatively tough series against the Montreal Canadiens, albeit with a little bit of controversy.
The Kings are coming off of another Game 7 road win as they beat the Chicago Blackhawks in OT, 5-4.
The two teams have not met very often lately, mainly because of the conference difference, but also have never really met in the playoffs.
Courtesy of NHL.com: “Not only have the Rangers and Kings not played each other in more than six months, they haven’t met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since New York’s 3-1 series victory in the best-of-5 first round in 1981. Their only other playoff meeting was in 1979, when the Rangers swept a best-of-3 preliminary-round series.”
The Kings have succeeded to this point by waring down their opponents and grinding out their series’ to the last game. They had a spectacular run against the Sharks, winning 4 straight, but nearly coughed up the series against the defending champions last round. The series eventually went into their comfort zone of Game 7 and the Kings are back in the Finals for the 2nd time in 3 years.
The Rangers have had success playing from both ends of the spectrum. Against Pittsburgh, the Rangers had to fight back to take the series while they were in control for most of the series against Montreal.
Both teams have stellar goaltending in Henrik Lundqvist and Jonathon Quick.
The Rangers are going to be entering the series as underdogs but have shown that they can steal a series or two and reach the promised land for the first time since they were previously in a Final in 1994.
The last time a team swept another in the Finals was when Scotty Bowman and the Detroit Red Wings did it in 1998 to cap off four straight sweeps in the Cup Finals. The Devils were one of the teams to do it in 1995.
No team has won in 5 games since Randy Carlyle and the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Ottawa Senators in 2007. The last series to go 7 games was when the Boston Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks in 2011.
2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs Prediction Score – .5 for correct team, .5 for correct games
Before the Conference Finals began, I had a score of 6/12.
- I had the Blackhawks in 6, and neither happened – 6/13
- I had Montreal in 7, and that never happened – 6/14
I am going to employ a Golden Snitch for this matchup. If I get both the team and the number of games correct, I get 3 points instead of 1, mainly for damage control. It’s also the Finals so why not?
I think the Rangers have a very good shot at taking this series. I also think that the Kings have looked very good since falling 3-0 to the San Jose Sharks in Round 1. I had always believed the winner of the West would win the Cup.
I would hate to see the cup won on the road like it seems to happen lately (outside of 2012) and I think this series has the potential to go 7 games because Lundqvist is capable of stealing a couple games.
I will take the Los Angeles Kings (leaving all bias behind, too) in 7 games to win their 2nd Stanley Cup in 3 years.