One year ago, the Boston Bruins had earned themselves the opportunity to win two Stanley Cup titles within a three year window, but they failed to complete their mission in the Final against the Chicago Blackhawks.
It’s the Kings’ turn to try. Los Angeles won the Cup in 2012 with many of the same core players that form their current roster.
This current Kings team was built for the playoffs, and it shows. When the 2014 postseason concludes, L.A. will have played in 11 of a possible 12 playoff series’ spanning the last three postseasons. Injuries plagued them down the middle a year ago, or perhaps they’d be playing in a third consecutive final.
There is something about the make-up of this current Kings team that is conducive with winning important playoff games, a tough task; ask the many franchises who regularly outdo them in the regular season standings to no avail.
The Kings get the New York Rangers in the Cup Final. America’s two biggest cities will dance. Gary Bettman must love it. The networks must love it. I love it.
I’ve thought from the onset of the playoffs that the East was would be wide open for the taking if the Boston Bruins were to disappoint. Boston was ousted in the second-round by their long time foes, the Montreal Canadiens.
The Rangers are a good team. They allowed the fourth least goals against in the National Hockey League this season, and the Kings allowed the least. Defence wins in the playoffs. Defence wins championship.
New York stand in the way of Los Angeles’s attempt to win two Cups in three years, and I expect they’ll be all the Kings can handle. The Rangers have enjoyed a perfect mixture of established veterans and timely blossoming youthful players, all performing at the same time. Their defence is incredibly strong on the left side, with McDonagh — who has truly come of age as one of the best in the game — and Marc Staal. And of course, in goal you’ll find Henrik Lundqvist, who has proven his abilities too many times to count.
The Kings are an imposing proposition for any team. Drew Doughty heads a defence corps that features size and strength. Speaking of Doughty, he is arguably the best defenceman in the NHL, and each postseason that becomes less arguable.
Anze Kopitar, Marian Gaborik, Jeff Carter are capable of scoring thirty with their eyes closed, and they’ll score in the Final.
Justin Williams, Dustin Brown and Mike Richards are veteran savvy and clutch capable and mean.
Jonathan Quick is a Conn Smythe winner, two years removed. And he has a history of making big saves when big saves are required. He’ll make some big saves against the Rangers, and it might be enough to win another Cup.
The 2014 Stanley Cup Final nearly happened two years ago, when the Rangers lost in the semis to the New Jersey Devils. The Kings beat the Devils in six. This time, they get the Rangers, and six sounds about right.