Monday Musings: Rangers, Kings set to clash in Stanley Cup final | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaMonday Musings: Rangers, Kings set to clash in Stanley Cup final

Posted: Monday, June 2, 2014 | 10:25 AM

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Dustin Brown, right, and the Kings beat goalie Henrik Lundqvist's Rangers 1-0 on Nov. 17 at Madison Square Garden. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Dustin Brown, right, and the Kings beat goalie Henrik Lundqvist's Rangers 1-0 on Nov. 17 at Madison Square Garden. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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This week's Monday Musings previews the 2014 Stanley Cup final between the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers, which begins at the Staples Center on Wednesday.

Some Monday musings to prepare you for the 2014 Stanley Cup final between the favoured Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers that begins on Wednesday.

Here is the schedule for the championship:

Game 1: Wednesday, June 4 at Los Angeles (8 p.m. ET).

Game 2: Saturday, June 7 at Los Angeles (7 p.m. ET).

Game 3: Monday, June 9 at N.Y. Rangers (8 p.m. ET).

Game 4: Wednesday, June 11 at N.Y. Rangers (8 p.m. ET).

Game 5: Friday, June 13 at Los Angeles (8 p.m. ET).

Game 6: Monday, June 16 at N.Y. Rangers (8 p.m. ET).

Game 7: Wednesday, June 18 at Los Angeles (8 p.m. ET).

Head to head

Kings regular season: 10th overall, 46-28-8, 100 points.

Road to final: Defeated San Jose in seven, Anaheim in seven, Chicago in seven.

Rangers regular season: 12th overall, 45-31-6, 96 points.

Road to final: Defeated Philadelphia in seven, Pittsburgh in seven, Montreal in six.

Playoff stats         Los Angeles           N.Y. Rangers

Goals by period   23-21-27-2 (73)       21-18-13-2 (54)

Overall record           12-9-0                     12-8-0

Home records             5-4-0                       6-4-0

1-goal games              4-5-0                       5-2-0

OT record                    2-2-0                        2-1-0

Score first                    8-2-0                      10-3-0

Shutouts                          1                              1

2013-14 regular-season meetings

The finalists split their two games this season, but have not met in more than six months.

Oct. 7: New York wins 3-1 at Staples Center.

Rangers centre Brad Richards scored twice to put his club up 2-0 and defenceman Ryan McDonagh scored a fluky 180-foot shorthanded goal when Kings goalie Jonathan Quick lost his stick early in the third period. This was each team's second game of the season.

Nov. 17: Kings win 1-0 at Madison Square Garden.

Then Los Angeles backup goalie Ben Scrivens made 37 saves for the shutout and Tyler Toffoli scored the game-winner early in the second period with a bank shot off the skate of New York defenceman Anton Stralman. The Rangers felt they tied the game late, but it was ruled Dominic Moore had scored with a kicking motion.

5 storylines

1. The Rangers are on an incredible emotional run with the death of Martin St. Louis's mother in early May and the remarkable comeback story of Dominic Moore, who did not play last season after his wife, Katie, passed away from a rare form of liver cancer. The group has come together at the right time, has played for each other and has employed all the emotion as a positive force.

2. The Kings are on an incredible three-year post-season run under head coach Darryl Sutter. It began with a five-game, first-round upset over Alain Vigneault and the Vancouver Canucks en route to a championship in 2012, a skate to the West final in 2013 and now a return to the final in 2014. Over the past 24 months, Los Angeles has demonstrated it is a team built for playoff success and it is a playoff-hardened bunch. No team has won back-to-back championships since Detroit in 1996-97 and 1997-98, but the Kings can be the first team since the late 1990s to win two titles in a three-season span. New Jersey came close with championships in 2000 and 2003. Chicago won in 2010 and 2013.

3. On the ice, this is a matchup of teams with excellent goaltending with Henrik Lundqvist and Jonathan Quick, dependable defence corps led by Ryan McDonagh and Drew Doughty, and timely scoring. Both teams have managed comebacks in series, too. It may come down to two questions: Can the Kings deal with the Rangers' speed, and will the Blueshirts have an answer for the physicality and depth of Los Angeles?

4. When the West final was extended to seven games, the Kings became only the third team to play the maximum 21 games through three rounds -- the 1993 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 2002 Colorado Avalanche are the others -- and the first to reach the Stanley Cup final. They haven't exhibited any signs that they're slowing down, despite the fact that Wednesday will be their 60th post-season game in the past 24 months. But it will be interesting to see if fatigue is a factor in the final, especially when you consider key players like Anze Kopitar, Doughty, Jeff Carter, Quick, Dustin Brown and Slava Voynov also played in Sochi at the Olympics.

5. The Rangers and Kings have met in the playoffs only twice, in 1979 and 1981. New York won both best-of-five preliminary-round series. But there are some connections to both sides. Kings sniper Marian Gaborik played four-plus seasons with the Blueshirts. Quick was raised an hour away in Connecticut, idolized Rangers legend Mike Richter and cheered for New York. Rangers forward Brian Boyle was a 2003 first-round selection (26th overall) of the Kings and played his first 36 NHL games for Los Angeles before he was traded at the 2009 draft in exchange for a third-round pick (North Vancouver's Jordan Weal). The 22-year-old Weal has yet to play in the NHL, but he enjoyed a 23-goal, 70-point season in 76 games for AHL Manchester in 2013-14.

3-round check-up

After three rounds, 14 series and 88 games, here is a summary of playoff statistics:

  • One-goal games: 42 (48 per cent)
  • Home team wins: 52 (59 per cent)
  • Overtime games: 28 (32 per cent)
  • Scored first wins: 64 (73 per cent)
  • Shutout games: 13 (15 per cent)

Championship double

The club is small, but the group of players who have won Olympic gold and a Stanley Cup in the same calendar year will expand by two this month. Currently, Ken Morrow (1980 United States and N.Y. Islanders), Brendan Shanahan and Steve Yzerman (2002 Canada and Detroit), Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews (2010 Canada and Chicago) are the only six players to accomplish the feat.

Canadian Olympians Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis of the Rangers, or the Kings' Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter are about to become the latest to join this elite set.

By the Numbers

1 -- Loss in 14 Game 5, 6 or 7 contests over the past two playoff runs by the Blackhawks. That came Sunday night when they lost in overtime to L.A.

7 -- Game 7s in the 2014 playoffs, tying the record for most series extended to the max, set in 1994 and matched in 2011.

7-0 -- Record for Los Angeles forwards Marian Gaborik, Mike Richards and Justin Williams in career Game 7s.

7, 13 -- Career goals and points scored in Game 7s for Williams, which matches the records set by Glenn Anderson (seven goals) and Doug Gilmour (13 points) after Williams had a goal and an assist on Sunday in the West final finale. 

99 -- Playoff victories for Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville, who will have to wait until next year to try for the century mark.

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