The 2014 NHL postseason is one of the most exciting playoffs in all of sports, and the battle between the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings has proven to be worthy of the Stanley Cup Final stage.
Not only are New York and Los Angeles the two biggest media markets in the United States, but the two teams are also well-matched on the ice and will continue to bring out the tenacity in each other as the series progresses.
Here is the full schedule, television information, live stream details and a series prediction for the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.
|Game 1||June 4||Kings defeated Rangers, 3-2||--||--|
|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 vs. Los Angeles
The marquee battle between the Rangers and the Kings kicked off with an exciting Game 1 in Los Angeles, and the series stays in the Staples Center for Saturday’s Game 2.
After the Kings managed to pull out a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory in the opening matchup of the series, the pressure has been put squarely on the shoulders of New York.
If the Rangers want to avoid the dreaded 0-2 series disadvantage, the entire roster must band together and fight as hard as they have at any point this season. Unfortunately for New York, Los Angeles carries that mindset into each game.
ESPN’s John Buccigross shared on Twitter just how dominant LA was in Game 1:
Kings: outshot Rangers 43-27 (including 20-3 in 3rd period) ... every King except Dwight King had at least 1 shot— John Buccigross (@Buccigross) June 5, 2014
While Buccigross whipped the fans into a frenzy, ESPN’s SportsCenter Twitter account talked many New Yorkers off the proverbial ledge:
Silver lining for Rangers fans: When Blueshirts won the Stanley Cup in 1994, they also lost Game 1 in OT, 3-2.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 5, 2014
The play of the stars on offense is the key for Los Angeles, and Kings captain Dustin Brown told Scott Burnside of ESPN.com about the importance of center Anze Kopitar to the team’s overall game plan:
You try and describe guys [as] 'shut-down D' or 'goal scorer' or 'grinder.' I've said this before about Kopy, he's just a hockey player. If the best play's a pass, it's a pass, if the best play's a shot, it's a shot. He's just a complete hockey player. He doesn't get enough credit in my opinion partly probably because of the market we're in, his background. If he was a Canadian and played in New York, [there would] probably be more people talking about him.
Led by Kopitar and Brown, Los Angeles hammered the Rangers in Game 1 with an unrelenting offensive attack. After racking up an incredible 43 shots to start the series, the Kings know that New York will be changing their mindset in Game 2.
Which team will win this series?
There is no doubt that Lundqvist is one of the best goalies in the league, but his efforts will go to waste if New York can’t find a way to get stars like Rick Nash, Martin St. Luis and Brad Richards more heavily involved.
Hockey fans should expect the Kings to walk away with this series.
Series Prediction: Los Angeles wins, 4-2
*Stats via NHL.com.