The NHL couldn’t have written a better script for themselves in regards to this year’s Stanley Cup Finals. What started as a 16 team tournament on April 16th has now come down to two teams. The New York Rangers have shocked the hockey world as they will represent the Eastern Conference in the finals. They will face the LA Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals come Wednesday Night in Los Angeles. This is the first time since 1981 that a major sports league’s last two teams standing were from New York and LA. The LA Dodgers beat the New York Yankees 4-2 in the 1981 World Series.
The Rangers beat Philly in seven in the opening round, stunned all experts by overcoming a commanding 3-1 series lead by Pittsburgh and came back. They put the cream at the top this incredible run by beating the Montreal Canadians in six games to earn them the right to go to play the Kings in the finals.
The Rangers road on the back of teammate Martin St. Louis who’s mother passed away unexpectedly during the Pittsburgh series. Couple that with the superman like performance of Hendrick Lundquist and you have a recipe for winning.
Although both teams were seeded number three in their respective divisions at the end of the regular season,; LA is going into the finals as prohibited favorites. The LA Kings became the “roaches” of the NHL. No matter how much pesticides their opponents threw their way, somehow they stayed alive and didn’t go away.
The Kings are 7-0 in elimination games this playoff season. They became only the fourth NHL team to ever come back from a 0-3 deficit and win four straight to comeback in the first round against the San Jose Sharks, They were then down three games to two to the Ducks in the second round and came back. Finally they blew a 3-1 lead over Chicago and face a road game seven in Chicago. They are the first NHL team to win three game sevens in a single play off season.
Against Chicago, the Kings were down 2-0, 3-2 & 4-3 before tying the game with a little over 11 minutes left in the 3rd period. The Kings went on to win at 5:47 of overtime.
Personally I think it’s good for hockey to have the biggest markets in the United States in the finals. It’s good for New York, good for LA and it’s good for hockey. I hope it’s a good close series that goes seven games.
10-4 in series picks.
As the hockey purists and histiorians look back at this year’s Stanley Cup Final series; one thing will be certian; it was up their with the best. The Eastern Conference Champion Boston Bruins battle the Champions from the West Chicago Blackhawks.
There were many lead changes, as well as three of the five games going to overtime. Game one in Chicago showed the Chicago Blackhwaks battle back twice from a two goal deficet to win in triple OT by the score of 4-3. Game two also went into overtime where the Bruins scored and tied the series. The series then moved to Boston where the Bruins won 2-0 and took a two games to one lead in the series.
Game four in Boston is where Chicago stole the momemtum from Boston and refused to give it back. Twice the Bruins battle back being down by two goals. The end to end action accounted for 11 goals as the Blackhawks won in overtime 6-5. With the seires tied at 2-2, the series shifted back to Chicago where the Blackhwaks won 3-1.
Coming back to Boston up three games to two, the Bruins needed to a victory to force a game seven. Boston took a first period 1-0 into the locker room. Chicago tied it in the 2nd. Boston score with about 7:30 left in regulation to take the lead. With about 1:40 left, Chicago pulled their goalie. It truely looked like we were heading back to Chicago for a game seven.
Now I have been watching hockey for 42 years. What happened next I had never seen before. The Blackhwaks scored with about 1:13 left in regulation to tie the game and force overtime. Or did they?
Seventeen seconds later Chicago stunned the sell out crowd at TG Garden and scored again to take the lead with :58 left. They went on to hold the lead and won the Stanley Cup. It was the Blackhawks second cup in four years. Patrick Kane was named the Conn Smythe winning as the playoffs’ most valuable player.
The series went six games, three of the six went to OT. Had this series gone seven, it would have gone dwn as one of the greatest Staley Cup Finals ever.
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