After so many intense series in this year's NHL playoffs, the 2014 Stanley Cup Final between the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers is finally here, and the TV schedule is officially set.
Both teams have had to play plenty of playoff games to get here. The Kings have had to go to Game 7 in every single series against some top-tier teams, and the Rangers won in seven in their first two series before taking down the Montreal Canadiens in six the Eastern Conference Final.
Now that the teams are set for the Stanley Cup Finals let's take a look at the complete TV schedule as well as a couple of predictions for the series.
|Stanley Cup Finals Schedule|
|Game||Date||Home Team||Time (ET)||TV|
|1||Wednesday, June 4||Los Angeles||8 p.m.||NBC|
|2||Saturday, June 7||Los Angeles||7 p.m.||NBC|
|3||Monday, June 9||New York||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|4||Wednesday, June 11||New York||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|5*||Friday, June 13||Los Angeles||8 p.m.||NBC|
|6*||Monday, June 16||New York||8 p.m.||NBC|
|7*||Wednesday, June 18||Los Angeles||8 p.m.||NBC|
|* if necessary|
Don't Expect a Shootout
Neither of these teams like to give up goals, and while they can get hot from time to time, having two defensive-minded teams like these means we'll be seeing some very low-scoring games.
During the regular season, the Kings led the NHL with just two goals allowed per game, while the Rangers were fourth at just 2.3 goals per game. Neither team was especially strong offensively, either, with the Kings and Rangers scoring 2.4 and 2.6 goals per game respectively.
Both teams have great goalies in Jonathan Quick and Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist has been terrific this postseason with a .928 save percentage and just 2.03 goals allowed per game. However, Quick has been solid as well, and he also has a great defenseman in Drew Doughty who can help block shots before they even get to the goalie.
The Rangers have gotten to the Stanley Cup Final thanks to their defense. As Steve Mears from NHL Live points out, the Rangers' defense was the key to New York taking down the Canadiens in Game 6.
There might be a couple of somewhat high-scoring games, but don't expect a ton of them, as these two goalies will be shutting down the opposing offenses throughout the series.
If It Goes to Game 7, Expect The Kings To Win
Both teams have had to deal with some high-pressure situations this season, but the amount of pressure the Kings have dealt with will give them the edge if this series goes the distance.
With those three previous Game 7 wins, the Kings actually became the first team in NHL history to have to go to Game 7 in each series before the Stanley Cup Final, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
What's even more impressive is the way the Kings have fought back in these series. They started the playoffs down 3-0 to the San Jose Sharks, then stormed back to win the last four in dramatic fashion. After that, the Kings lost three straight against the Anaheim Ducks before winning the final two to advance, then lost two straight to the Chicago Blackhawks before finally sealing the series in overtime of Game 7.
After losing Game 6 in the previous round, Doughty talked about playing in Game 7 situations and how his team has adjusted to dealing with these situations.
"We've been in that spot a few times, and we know how to deal with it," Doughty told ESPN's Arash Markazi after Game 6. "We're still a confident group. We know we lost tonight, but we're over it already. We're ready to move on and win a game in the United Center."
This series could end early, but if it goes to Game 7, it's hard to count against the team that's already dealt with the pressure so many times.