The last five-to-seven hockey games of the NHL's 2013-2014 NHL season are upon us. The New York Rangers will represent the Eastern Conference and take on the Los Angeles Kings, who are looking to join the Blackhawks at a pretty elite level of sustained success not often seen in the salary cap era.
The Kings were the best possession team in the league this year (5-on-5 Corsi close) and here they are in the SCF. The Rangers are discounted by most in this series, but they were sixth in the league- A very strong possession team, though with that weak eastern schedule.
It's no secret that Los Angeles is an elite possession team. They're almost certainly going to out-shoot the Rangers at 5-on-5 in this series. What's maybe a little less well known is that New York is also a very good possession team, falling into about the middle of the teams that the Kings have played in the playoffs over the past three years.
Like everyone in the Eastern Conference this season, the Rangers played a pretty soft schedule. That being said, they held their own against the Western Conference with a 51.3 percent Corsi%. Perhaps their most impressive accomplishment is being one of only two teams to win the 5v5 shot-attempt battle in a game against the Kings in Los Angeles. More impressively, the Rangers won the game-it's harder to put up a big Corsi% in a game that you win because teams sit back with the lead. [Sportsnet]
Who will prevail? The bad news is we all think we know, and we definitely don't like it. The good news is that we've been pretty wrong about most of this in the post-season.
What say you? Do the Rangers have a chance for what would probably have to be considered an upset?
Brad: Now we come to it. The West versus the East. That matchup was a joke for much of the regular season, and many observed the Blackhawks and Kings accordingly as far, far superior hockey to Rangers and Canadiens. If that's true this might not be all that entertaining. Let's hope Lundqvist makes it at least a little challenging. Kings in six.
Brandon: The Kings just now how to win and went through an absolute gauntlet to get here. The Rangers have the better goaltending and coach. Kings in six.
Erin: The New York Rangers have the better goalie and the feel-good stories of the playoffs, but the Los Angeles Kings came through the much more difficult path to the final. Goalies make all the difference this time of year, but I just can't bet against the Kings anymore, and they do have the better lineup of skaters. At least it should be a good series. Kings in 7.
Josh: The Kings are the better team, but the Rangers are a worthy adversary with a significantly better goalie. Kings in 6, but it could go either way.
Huw: The Rangers looks like they have the better goaltending and the Kings have had to fight to game 7 in every series so far. I'll be dramatic. Rangers in 7, the Kings can't win every one.
Taylor: The Kings have more than earned their spot in the Finals, but do they have enough left in the tank to beat Lundqvist and the Rangers? I think the Rangers win on the back of their star goaltender, but the Kings won't be an easy opponent to defeat. Rangers in 6.
David: Before last week I'd have said Kings, hands down. And then 51 goals happened in the Western Conference Finals. On the one hand, that means the Kings can win shootouts. On the other hand, it means the Rangers have a huge edge in the goaltending department. I still give it to LA, but not as easily. Kings in 7, because why would NBC's luck run out now?
Ismael: The Rangers are a great story but the Kings have depth on them. While NY's bottom lines played well against the East's best, the Kings are a whole new animal. Quick will return to form and win this series in 5.