The 2014 NHL playoffs have been flat-out amazing, and the culmination of the postseason will be the Stanley Cup Final featuring the New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings.
Both New York and Los Angeles earned their way into the biggest series of the year by dominating some of the toughest teams in the league, and the resulting series will be a dream matchup for many hockey fans.
Here is the full 2014 Stanley Cup Final schedule, the latest championship odds and predictions for the entire series.
|2014 Stanley Cup Final Schedule and Predictions|
|Game 1||June 4||NY Rangers at Los Angeles||NBC||Kings|
|Game 2||June 7||NY Rangers at Los Angeles||NBC||Kings|
|Game 3||June 9||Los Angeles at NY Rangers||NBCSN||Rangers|
|Game 4||June 11||Los Angeles at NY Rangers||NBCSN||Kings|
|*Game 5||June 13||NY Rangers at Los Angeles||NBC||Rangers|
|*Game 6||June 16||Los Angeles at NY Rangers||NBC||Kings|
|*Game 7||June 18||NY Rangers at Los Angeles||NBC||N/A|
|Source: NHL.com. *If necessary.|
|2014 Championship Odds|
|Los Angeles Kings||100-153||-153|
|New York Rangers||139-100||+139|
Predicting New York Rangers vs. Los Angeles Kings
After weeks of unforgettable postseason action, the 2014 Stanley Cup Final has been set as the New York Rangers square off against the Los Angeles Kings in a seven-game series that hard-core and casual hockey fans alike can get behind.
With New York and Los Angeles representing the two biggest markets in the United States, the hockey world is abuzz over the potential fireworks in the championship series.
The Kings have taken the hardest route possible to this point, forcing each of the first three series to seven games. Beating the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks was tough enough, but the Rangers are playing just as well as any team in the league.
Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown spoke to reporters about how the cohesiveness of the locker room has given each player confidence in his ability on the ice:
It's just a trust system and a belief system within this room of a result of being together for hundreds of games together and climbing the hill once and trying to do it again. We know what to expect, and we expect a lot from each other. And there's times when there's not nice things said to each other, and it's all in the nature of motivating each other and motivating each other to be better. When you have guys that have been together, you're capable of holding each other accountable and pushing to the next level.
New York should be excited to make the finals, but as Tom Gulitti of The Record said on Twitter, the franchise shouldn’t be too excited about the matchup the Rangers drew:
After beating the Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens in the first three rounds, New York has proven to have elite goaltending with Henrik Lundqvist needed to capture the Stanley Cup.
The team’s defense will have to improve its consistency against a stout Los Angeles offensive unit that goes hard on every shift. Led by Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi, the Rangers must stop any pressure coming into their zone.
If the Kings can find a rhythm early and get pucks on Lundqvist early and often, though, the driving offensive pressure from Jeff Carter, Marian Gaborik and Anze Kopitar will create chances and give the franchise the openings needed to win the series.
As well as New York has played this postseason, Los Angeles is a team of destiny.
Predicted Series Winner: Los Angeles, 4-2
*Stats via NHL.com.