The 2014 Stanley Cup Final is set. The Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers are set for a battle of the coasts that will surely initiate a new rivalry in the sport.
While many were pulling for the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final because of the "Original Six" implications against the Rangers in the Stanley Cup, the Kings were able to outlast Chicago and advance.
The Rangers, on the other hand, won their series on Thursday night. They've had a nice rest prior to Game 1, though it remains to be seen whether that rest will result in rust.
This year's Stanley Cup will be one for the ages. The Kings will look to make it two in three years, while the Rangers are attempting to win their first in 20 years.
Here are the main storylines to watch in the series.
Will the Layoff Hurt the Rangers?
The Rangers played a lot of hockey prior to their series against the Montreal Canadiens. Each of their first two series went seven games, including a grueling three-game stretch against the Pittsburgh Penguins after being down 3-1.
They finished their series with Montreal in six games, though, giving them a healthy rest prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup. But will the rest help?
It's an age-old debate. Do teams do better or worse when handed a lengthy rest? I tend to side with rest, especially in a physically demanding sport such as hockey. But others continue to disagree.
Forward Brad Richards is a fan of the extra rest. He told the Associated Press that it will allow his teammates to regroup, via ESPN.com.
"We are welcoming the rest, and regrouping," Richards said. "We've played a lot of hockey since March 1. It's good for our team, but whether it's an advantage or not, I don't know. We'd rather go in with a little more rest and preparation than not."
There is such a thing as too much rest, however. Had the Rangers swept Montreal, that break would have been far too long. A break of a little less than a week should help New York refocus for the final portion of its season.
Jonathan Quick vs. Henrik Lundqvist
The Kings and the Rangers will play a tightly contested series, mostly because of the men in net. Jonathan Quick and Henrik Lundqvist will ensure that this series is low-scoring and thrilling to the last second of each game.
Tim Boron, goaltender for the Rapid City Rush, is thoroughly excited about the matchup:
The matchup is going to be intense. NHL.com broke down the two goaltenders and which team has the edge:
The bodies of work for both goaltenders during these playoffs have been astounding. Quick has won Game 7 after Game 7 to get the Kings to the Stanley Cup, while Lundqvist has overcome questionable outings to lead his Rangers to victory.
Quick and Lundqvist will dictate who wins this series.
The Kings are notorious for having one of the best Twitter accounts in all of professional sports, but it was the Rangers who delivered the first blow in the battle of the ice:
Oh yeah, and they delivered the second:
And the third:
While this back-and-forth will have no impact on the actual Stanley Cup, it's fun to monitor. Who knows? Maybe some of the trash talk will spill over onto the ice.
In what's already guaranteed to be an emotional series, the Twitter war might just add another layer to the action.
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