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Rangers, Kings enrich sports rivalry between cities

When New York and Los Angeles dropped the puck Wednesday in the Stanley Cup final, it marked the first time in 33 years that the cities had squared off for a championship.

New York and Los Angeles face off for first time in Stanley Cup final

Kyle Clifford of the Kings is hit by Kevin Klein of the Rangers in Game 1 of Stanley Cup final at Staples Center on Wednesday. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

When the New York Rangers met the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup final on Wednesday, it marked the first time that professional sports teams from either city had faced off for a championship since 1981. 

It also marked the eighth time overall, with New York team winning four of the previous seven. 

The Rangers and Kings had met twice before in the Stanley Cup playoffs — in 1979 and 1981, with New York winning both — but never in a best-of-seven series or in a championship final. 

Here is a look at the seven championship matchups between New York and Los Angeles, all in MLB or the NBA:

1963 World Series: Dodgers over Yankees 

Six years after moving to Los Angeles from Brooklyn, the Dodgers won the third World Series in franchise history by sweeping the Yankees. Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax was series MVP.

1970 NBA finals: Knicks over Lakers 

Knicks star Willis Reed pulled off what was later voted the greatest moment in Madison Square Garden history by stepping onto the floor for Game 7, despite a severe leg injury. The finals MVP scored the first two baskets (in fact, his only two) of the game as New York won its first title.

1972 NBA finals: Lakers over Knicks 

Wilt Chamberlain, Gail Goodrich and Jerry West helped the Lakers roll to a five-game series victory. Chamberlain was series MVP, averaging 19 points and a whopping 23 rebounds.

1973 NBA finals: Knicks over Lakers 

Willis Reed returned after an injury-plagued 1971-72 season to lead the way for another Knicks title. New York lost Game 1, but won the next four. Injuries forced Reed to retire a year later.

1977 World Series: Yankees over Dodgers 

Reggie Jackson starting building his resume as "Mr. October" with an MVP performance as the Yankees beat the Dodgers in six games. Jackson hit .450 with five home runs and eight runs batted in to help the Yankees to their first World Series title since 1962.

1978 World Series: Yankees over Dodgers 

Bucky Dent, loathed and remembered in Boston for hitting the home run that beat the Red Sox in the divisional playoff, hit .417 against the Dodgers as the Yankees won their second straight World Series. Reggie Jackson again had eight RBIs, but hit a "measly" .391.

1981 World Series: Dodgers over Yankees 

"Fernandomania" was in full swing as rookie pitcher Fernando Valenzuela helped the Dodgers rebound from losing the first two games on the road to capture the World Series in six. Third baseman Ron Cey, outfielder Pedro Guerrero and catcher Steve Yeager were named co-MVPs.

With files from The Associated Press

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