NHL

2014 Stanley Cup Final Series Picks & Odds

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The New York Rangers might be one of the most unlikely Stanley Cup Series Picks & Odds finalists because the New Jersey Devils unexpectedly pushed their way into the championship round at the conclusion of the 2011-2012 season. Once the Devils made their way into the finals, they faced an upstart Los Angeles Kings team that was the first number eight seed in NHL history to get to the finals. By enough time the series was over, the Kings were the first number eight seed in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup. Now those circumstances are eerily repeating themselves for the Kings and Los Angeles fans wonder if the results now could be the identical to 2011-2012.

2014 Stanley Cup Final Series Picks & OddsNew York Rangers @ Los Angeles Kings – Wednesday June 4, 2014 – Stanley Cup Finals, Game One

This is a coast-to-coast series that must be the NHL’s dream come true, but the Rangers are only not getting the type of attention they deserve, even in their particular city. A Los Angeles versus New York championship has long been a marquee matchup, and this one should show to be epic as well. But with the Rangers being such steep underdogs, it will soon be interesting to observe how New York reacts when the puck finally drops on game one. The early odds at 5Dimes had the Kings at -165 for the series with the Rangers at +145.

New York Rangers

It’s no secret that goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is a huge reason the New York Rangers are playing for the Stanley Cup. But not even Lundqvist’s brilliance would have been enough if the Rangers hadn’t started scoring goals by the truckload in the Eastern Conference finals. This is a dangerous New York team because it could do something that the Rangers have not been able to do in the playoffs for decades – score goals in clutch situations. But the Rangers will face a Los Angeles team that’s different compared to the high-flying Montreal Canadiens, and that change of pace might cause the Rangers to take time to adjust.

Los Angeles Kings

Another odd coincidence about this series is that the Rangers and Kings beat high-scoring teams inside their respective conference finals. The thing the Rangers and Kings proved is that gritty play is what wins championships and not scoring. The Kings are a mix of grit, scoring, and great goaltending. But the Rangers can lay claim to having those three qualities as well. What allows the Kings to stand apart from the Rangers is that the Los Angeles defense can score goals, that is something the New York blue liners have struggled with.

The Bottom Line

Fans should expect a low-scoring and defensive struggle in this first game, but it may not prove that way. Both these teams are ready because of this series and enough time off between the conference finals and the Stanley Cup finals allows the Kings to rest from their previous three series that most went seven games. The Kings are on a move, and it may take the Rangers a game or two to get involved with the swing of things from this strong Los Angeles team.

Stanley Cup Final Series Picks: Los Angeles Kings


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