NHLDownload App

Rangers vs. Kings: Expert Predictions for 2014 Stanley Cup Final

Dave LozoNHL National Lead WriterJanuary 7, 2017

Rangers vs. Kings: Expert Predictions for 2014 Stanley Cup Final

1 of 5

    Scott Levy/Getty Images

    The experts who set the gambling lines in Las Vegas consider the Los Angeles Kings the odds-on favorite to defeat the New York Rangers (via OddsShark). The Kings won the Cup in 2012, reached the conference final in 2013 and are back again with a wealth of talent and experience.

    Do the Rangers have a chance to take four of seven games from the Kings?

    Bleacher Report's experts have weighed in on that and more, as Game 1 between the Kings and Rangers will take place at Staples Center on Wednesday night. Who will surprise? Who will disappoint? Who will take home the Conn Smythe Trophy?

    The answers to these questions and more lie ahead in this slideshow that contains the opinions of Adrian Dater, Jonathan Willis, Steve Macfarlane and myself.

     

    All statistics via NHL.com.

Adrian Dater

2 of 5

    USA TODAY Sports

    Who will win the 2014 Stanley Cup Final? In how many games?

    Kings in five. Why? Because the Rangers will seem like a vacation after three seven-game series with tough Western teams.

     

    The biggest surprise will be...

    Marian Gaborik. Gabby ain't done scoring goals yet. Now, he has an ex-team that traded him to want to get revenge against.

     

    The biggest disappointment will be...

    Rick Nash. He kind of already has been in these playoffs, hasn't he? I don't see that changing.

     

    Who will have the better series: Jonathan Quick or Henrik Lundqvist?

    Quick. Not to doubt King Henry, who I also feel will play well, but Quick will save his best for last.

     

    Who will win the 2014 Conn Smythe Trophy?

    Marian Gaborik. And go to the head of the class, whomever picked him before the playoffs.

Dave Lozo

3 of 5

    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Steve Macfarlane

4 of 5

    USA TODAY Sports

    Who will win the 2014 Stanley Cup Final? In how many games?

    Los Angeles Kings in six games. Although I think the Rangers are being counted out a little too quickly here and match up fairly well with the Kings if Henrik Lundqvist plays his best, the Kings will ultimately walk away with a second Stanley Cup in three seasons thanks to their unmatched depth and rugged nature. They should be able to control the play.

     

    The biggest surprise will be...

    That a Kings series doesn't go all seven games this time. I don't think it will be a blowout series by any means, but the Kings are too strong a team and too well-coached to let this opportunity slip through their hands.

     

    The biggest disappointment will be...

    How poorly the Rangers' top line matches up with the Kings' trio of Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik. I think they could be the difference-makers in the series with the skills they have as a group.

     

    Who will have the better series: Jonathan Quick or Henrik Lundqvist?

    If we're going based on the winner, then Quick will be the answer here. Lundqvist should be more consistent and reliable, but Quick will make the flashiest saves. Of course, that often happens because he puts himself out of position with his aggression.

     

    Who will win the 2014 Conn Smythe Trophy?

    I think the injustice of Drew Doughty not being named a finalist for the Norris Trophy is amended here and he earns the title of playoff MVP for his impressive two-way play. The Kings defenseman is one of the best, if not the best, in the game today.

Jonathan Willis

5 of 5

    USA TODAY Sports

    Who will win the 2014 Stanley Cup Final? In how many games? 

    I lean toward the Kings, though I think it's going to be a more competitive series than many are expecting. I'll say seven games, which would put the Kings' playoffs at an incredible 28 contests.

     

    The biggest surprise will be... 

    Rick Nash's goal-scoring coming alive in the fourth round. He's been kicked around for not producing more, having scored just three times on 65 shots. Jonathan Quick is struggling, and at some point the pucks have to go in; if it weren't for the fact he'll see a lot of Kopitar, I'd say he'd be the Rangers' offensive leader in the Final.

     

    The biggest disappointment will be... 

    Marian Gaborik's goal-scoring drying up in the fourth round. That isn't a slight to Gaborik, who has been exceptional, but a simple acknowledgement of the fact that he's scored on 18.5 percent of his shots through three rounds and Henrik Lundqvist is the first elite goaltender he's seen all playoffs.

     

    Who will have the better series: Jonathan Quick or Henrik Lundqvist? 

    Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist has proven over his rather lengthy NHL career that he's a better goaltender than Quick. Anything can happen over seven games, but given a choice between the hot goalie with the superior long-term track record and the cold goalie with the inferior career numbers, the former is the obvious pick. 

     

    Who will win the 2014 Conn Smythe Trophy? 

    Anze Kopitar. Kopitar is full value right now, and he's likely facing the easiest matchup in the fourth round that he's seen over the entire postseason. A nice scoring run in the Final should push him over the top. 

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices