2014 Stanley Cup Finals Preview
The Stanley Cup is widely considered the toughest trophy to win in professional sports. Teams have to survive two months of all out war to raise Lord Stanley's Cup, and the final battle starts tonight, June 4th, when the Los Angeles Kings take on the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
But who will emerge victorious in this clash between LA and NYC?
Henrik Lundqvist has allowed two goals or fewer in 15 of 20 games, and is probably the best goalie in the NHL with five Vezina nominations since 2006. Jonathan Quick is known for spectacular saves, a product of being horribly out of position and having to recover. He is good, and can steal a game or two, but he's no King Henrik.
LA has more star power. Kopitar, Carter, Gaborik, Williams and Dustin Brown can all snipe. And they aren't just goal-scorers. Anze Kopitar is one of the best two-way forwards in the league and guys like Richards and Brown are no joke in their own end. The Rangers might not have any superstars outside of Martin St. Louis but they have more depth. Nash has woken up after being invisdible through the first two rounds and guys like Stepan, Brassard, Richards, Hagelin, Kreider and Zuccarello contribute on both ends.
The tighest matchup between the teams is on the back end. Doughty is among the best in the NHL, and he has young studs in support like Voynov and Muzzin while vets like Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene round out the cast. New York's defensive corps features one of the breakout stars of these playoffs in Ryan Mcdonagh, who paired with Dan Girardi is always a threat from the blue line. Throw in reliable guys like Staal, Klein and Moore (once back from suspension) and they are solid from top to bottom.
Two absolute pros will be behind the benches for this one. Vigneault is in his first season as coach for the Blueshirts after swapping places with John Tortorella (already fired in Vancouver) and Sutter is a career coach who seems to have found the perfect fit in LA. Both have been masterful so far this playoffs, hard to see any advantages.
The Special Team
Rangers have been hotter as of late but the Kings have been more consistent. Neither team was spectacular in the regular season but I like the Kings to regain form after some time off to adjust.
PREDICTION: Kings in 6
Have your say!
Will you be watching the Stanley Cup Finals? Do you think the Kings will emerge victorious in the battle between NY and LA? Tell us what you think in the comments below!