An upset should shock no one in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.
Neither the Los Angeles Kings nor New York Rangers finished with the best record in their division during the regular season. They beat the odds, though, advancing all the way to the championship series.
New York is appearing in its first Stanley Cup Final since 1994. Los Angeles just won it in 2012, and the Kings are 20-33 favorites to triumph again, according to Odds Shark. Here's how to watch to see whether they'll live up to expectations or if the Rangers will finish their season with a surprise.
|2014 Stanley Cup Finals Schedule|
|1||Wed., June 4||8 p.m.||LA||NY||NBC|
|2||Sat., June 7||7 p.m.||LA||NY||NBC|
|3||Mon., June 9||8 p.m.||NY||LA||NBCSN|
|4||Wed., June 11||8 p.m.||NY||LA||NBCSN|
|5*||Fri., June 13||8 p.m.||LA||NY||NBC|
|6*||Mon., June 16||8 p.m.||NY||LA||NBC|
|7*||Wed., June 18||8 p.m.||LA||NY||NBC|
It's no wonder the Kings are favored to win the Stanley Cup.
They surrendered the fewest goals in the NHL during the regular season. Their offense heated up at the right time, scoring 3.5 goals per game in the playoffs. And they have more Final experience.
However, New York has a player capable of taking over the series: Henrik Lundqvist. NESN's Dale Arnold thinks so:
Jonathan Quick won Stanley Cup Final MVP in 2012. But even after anchoring the best defense in hockey during the regular season, the goalie on the other end of the rink is the series' most important player.
This postseason, Lundqvist leads all goaltenders with a .928 save percentage. He's also second to Tuukka Rask with a 2.03 goals-against average, and he's entering the Final at his best, having shut out the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final to clinch the series.
Quick only has a .906 save percentage and 2.86 goals-against average, and he'll be facing an offense that scored more goals this season than his did.
The Kings deserve to be favored. But like the rest of their playoff series this year, this one will be long and hard-fought.
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report and editor at Wade-O Radio.
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