The 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs have showcased a great mix of elite defensive play and high-scoring offensive assaults, and the culminating championship series between the New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings will be the perfect embodiment of everything hockey is about.
Both franchises boast elite goaltenders who will be looking for the defensive units in front of them to step up big. Add the up-tempo offensive game plan each team utilizes, and this will be a very interesting series.
Here is the full schedule with television information, live stream information and a preview of New York vs. Los Angeles.
|Game 1||June 4||NY Rangers at Los Angeles||NBC||NBC Live Extra|
|Game 2||June 7||NY Rangers at Los Angeles||NBC||NBC Live Extra|
|Game 3||June 9||Los Angeles at NY Rangers||NBCSN||NBC Live Extra|
|Game 4||June 11||Los Angeles at NY Rangers||NBCSN||NBC Live Extra|
|*Game 5||June 13||NY Rangers at Los Angeles||NBC||NBC Live Extra|
|*Game 6||June 16||Los Angeles at NY Rangers||NBC||NBC Live Extra|
|*Game 7||June 18||NY Rangers at Los Angeles||NBC||NBC Live Extra|
Source: NHL.com. *If necessary.
*Live stream via NBC Live Extra.
Breaking Down New York Rangers vs. Los Angeles Kings
When the New York Rangers square off against the Los Angeles Kings in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, the entire hockey world will be focused on two of the most high-profile franchises in the league.
New York and Los Angeles are the two largest markets in the United States, and these two franchises have polarized hockey fans from every walk of life. Even those without a horse in the race are choosing sides in this marquee battle.
The official Twitter account of NBC Sports shared the betting details of the matchup:
The NHL couldn't have asked for a better championship series.
One of the most interesting aspects of this series is the offensive matchup between the two franchises. Each possesses several stars with the ability to fill the net at any time, and timely scoring will be a major factor in the outcome.
Regardless of which team wins the first game, radio personality Mike Schopp has the excuses mapped out:
If Rangers lose Game 1: rusty, jet-lagged, outclassed, not as hungry (Nash). If Rangers win Game 1: Kings tired, Lundqvist. Good talk.— Mike Schopp (@Schopptalk) June 3, 2014
After Monday’s practice, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault spoke to Steve Zipay of Newsday about his team assuming the role of underdog in the Stanley Cup Final:
I think going into Philly [in the first round], people were probably 50-50 that we would get through that. Going into Pittsburgh, I would probably say that there were a lot more people -- experts -- that were picking Pittsburgh than were picking the Rangers. Going against Montreal, other than a few New York reporters, everybody else across Canada, it was Montreal in four or five. So throughout these playoffs -- and it's not going to change now -- we've been the underdog, but what we've done is focused on how we play and what we need to do on the ice.
As if the action on the ice wasn't going to be exciting enough, the two teams have started battling each other on Twitter as well:
While the offensive assault from both the Rangers and the Kings will be a major focus, each team possesses an elite goaltender with the ability to take over a series. Henrik Lundqvist has been New York’s biggest reason for success, and Jonathan Quick has been the steadying force in the biggest moments for Los Angeles.
Who ya got?
There is so much offensive depth on both rosters that a mistake at this point in the season could mean the difference between a championship and settling for runner-up.
Hockey fans will be treated to an intense battle, but Los Angeles has the depth at forward, the skill at defense and the stability between the pipes needed to take home the Stanley Cup once again.
Predicted Series Winner: Los Angeles, 4-2
Stats via NHL.com.