The 2014 Stanley Cup Final has already featured plenty of intense action in both the offensive and defensive zones, but the battle between the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers has almost reached its conclusion.
Los Angeles leads New York in the series, 3-0.
Many factors have played into the series thus far, but none has made an impact like the play of the goaltenders from each team. Both Jonathan Quick and Henrik Lundqvist are top netminders in the league, and how they play will be a major factor in the rest of this series.
Here is the updated schedule and odds for the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.
|2014 Stanley Cup Final Schedule|
|Game 1||June 4||Kings defeated Rangers, 3-2||--||--|
|Game 2||June 7||Kings defeated Rangers, 5-4||--||--|
|Game 3||June 9||Kings defeated Rangers, 3-0||--||--|
|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.
Now that you’ve seen the schedule, here are the latest championship odds.
|2014 Championship Odds|
|Los Angeles Kings||2/3||-150|
|New York Rangers||13/10||+130|
What to Watch in Game 4: The Battle of the Goaltenders
Each team in this series has stars at the forward positions and on the defensive unit, but the biggest contributing factor for the eventual winner of this series will be the play of the goaltender.
For Los Angeles, the success of the team runs through the play of former Stanley Cup champion Jonathan Quick. While consistency has been an issue at times for him this postseason, he has come up big in key moments.
Whether it’s in Game 7 or in overtime, he understands the pressure and enjoys having the game resting on his shoulders. As emotional as the goaltender can be in support of his team, he stiffens up under the most intense conditions.
For New York, there is no bigger star on the roster than Henrik Lundqvist.
They score a goal and I can't even move. I don't expect a penalty on the play, but they need to blow the whistle. A goalie can't move when you have a guy like that on top of you. It's such an important play of that game…I don't buy it. That's a wrist shot that I'm just going to reach out for, and I can't move. It's a different game after that. It's such an important play in the game.
With the offensive cogs like Rick Nash, Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards struggling throughout the postseason, the biggest reason the Rangers made it to the Stanley Cup Final has been the elite play of Lundqvist.
New York has struggled at times defensively in front of him, but the Swedish star has been the only consistent for the Rangers during the run to the final series. He has been far from perfect, but he is the most reliable performer on the roster.
Both Fox Sports Live and Sporting Charts shared some more details about the goalies on Twitter:
In Game 4, the battle between Quick and Lundqvist will be the focus of the hockey fans who want the series to go the distance. If New York wants to contend for the title, Lundqvist must play well and be protected by his defenders.
On the other hand, another great game from Quick and the tough Los Angeles defense would break the back of the Rangers.
*Stats via NHL.com.