By Brandon Fitzpatrick @bfitzsports on June 2, 2014
The New York Rangers are on an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final. They have rode an incredible wave of emotion to come back from the brink and make it to their first Final in 20 years. They will be facing an incredibly tough Los Angeles Kings team. Here are five things the Rangers must do to beat the Kings.
The Rangers and Kings are pretty even with special teams. However, in order for the Rangers to win they must dominate the special teams battle. They can't afford for their power play to struggle like it did in most of round one and two. The penalty kill must continue to clog the lanes and block shots, especially against a Kings' power play with so much firepower.
Rick Nash is going to be compared to Marian Gaborik for the entire series because the Rangers chose Nash over Gaborik. If there was ever a time for Nash to change the narratives people have of him, it is now. Nash must become the game-breaker the Rangers thought they were getting from Columbus two years ago. He must be a force and score some goals for the Rangers to have a chance.
The Kings' defensemen have logged a lot of miles over the last month and a half. The Rangers aren't an overly physical team, but they must pound the Kings' defensemen, especially Drew Doughty, at every opportunity. Brian Boyle, Chris Kreider and Derek Dorsett are the main guys who will set a physical tone for the Rangers in this series.
Henrik Lundqvist and Jonathan Quick are the two best goaltenders in the NHL. Lundqvist has played better than Quick this postseason, but Quick has won a cup in the past and can turn it on at any given moment. For the Rangers to have a prayer, they need Lundqvist to outplay Quick and be the "King".
The Rangers' forwards are faster than the Kings' defensemen; there is no debating that. The Rangers need to use their speed advantage to fly by the Kings' defensemen. Kreider, Carl Hagelin, Martin St. Louis, Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard must turn on the jets to get the Rangers some quality scoring chances and odd-man rushes against Quick. If they use their speed, they will have a shot to beat the Kings.
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