Well, we’re getting this prediction in just under the wire but then again as I write this, it’s only 1:36 PM PT so let’s just pretend I’m in Los Angeles and I really wish I was! So the Stanley Cup Finals are here and as they have been throughout the 2014 playoffs, the New York Rangers are underdogs once again. Some hockey media pundits are giving them a bit more respect but not many have the Blue Shirts beating the Los Angeles Kings. Well this scribe does and here’s three reasons why:
1.) Henrik Lundqvist — The Rangers goalie as of now has to be the leading candidate for the Conn Smythe trophy and if he continues to play the way he has, could become the first player to win the trophy even if he doesn’t win the Cup since J.S. Giguere with the Anaheim Ducks in 2003. The Rangers put a defensive blanket on the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 to clinch the Eastern Conference Finals but if Lundqvist didn’t make some of the saves he did on the Habs’ 18 shots, specifically the insane stop on Thomas Vanek in the second period of that game.
2.) Speed — As the Flyers, Penguins and Canadiens found out in the previous three rounds, the Rangers are ‘Roadrunner’ fast! Along with that speed comes an amazing transition game and while the Kings aren’t too shabby there, the Rangers big men move faster than the Kings big men. The Kings defense is probably one of the best but can they handle the size and speed of some Rangers forwards after playing three straight seven-game series?
3.) More Ranger Fans Must “Die In Peace!” — Yes this new generation of Rangers fans hasn’t had to go 54 years but the generation before them has had to go 20 and endure bad trades and bad signings of over-the-hill fading stars. Hopefully most of those late 30’s to mid-50’s fans are close to dying now but why wait another 34 years to test their fate. Let them say “Now I can Die In Peace!” Note: Click on that last link; it’s worth the read!
Prediction: Sticking with my prediction from the beginning of the playoffs. Rangers in 6