The Los Angeles Kings had a few hours to celebrate their Game 7 overtime win over Chicago in the NHL Western Conference final, but now the focus shifts to a Stanley Cup final matchup against the New York Rangers.
Los Angeles is playing in its second Cup final in three years while the more rested Rangers, who eliminated Montreal on May 30, are making their first Cup final appearance since 1994, when they ended a 54-year championship drought with a Game 7 win over Vancouver.
New York and Los Angeles split a two-game season series, with the Rangers prevailing 3-1 on the road on Oct. 7 and the visiting Kings posting a 1-0 victory on Nov. 17.
Los Angeles is unbeaten in elimination games in these playoffs, going 7-0, including a 3-0 mark in Game 7s. New York has an undefeated streak of its own, a 10-0 record when leading after two periods.
Who will be the difference-makers in the series? How about the goalies, Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick and New York’s Henrik Lundqvist, both of whom are capable of stealing a few games? Or might it be unflappable Kings defenceman Drew Doughty or the Rangers’ inspirational 38-year-old leader, Martin St. Louis?
We highlight five players to watch on each side in the photo gallery above.