By PowerPlayCJ @powerplaywithcj on June 3, 2014
As the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers prepare to start the Stanley Cup Final, the following 10 players have been the most important to the respective teams at this point. As the series begins, they will all be in the running for the Conn Smythe trophy.
After a disastrous regular season tenure with the Rangers, St. Louis has come on strong in the postseason, displaying the level of craftiness that made him a star in Tampa Bay.
Williams' Game 7 resume entering these playoffs was stellar, and he built on it by posting five points in the Kings' three Game 7 wins. His contributions have not been limited to Games 7, as he has been a pillar of consistency on the Kings' first line all postseason long.
Kreider’s return from injury coincided with the Rangers’ comeback against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and he has been a catalyst for New York since. If the Rangers wish to upset the Kings, the young speedster will need to be front and center.
Stepan’s offensive contributions have been nothing but timely as he’s helped the Rangers when they needed him most. His ability to shake off a broken jaw and score two big goals against the Montreal Canadiens epitomizes how he’s helped this Rangers squad in the playoffs
After being relatively quiet through the first two rounds, Carter’s ‘That 70s Line’ took off against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Conference Finals. The former Flyer has been a dominant force the Kings will need going up against a formidable Rangers defense.
The former Ranger has been a savior in the playoffs for the Kings as he has been scoring goals at a record rate. The quantity of his goal production is matched only by its quality, as the vast majority have come in crunch time for L.A.
Suffice it to say, McDonagh has become the best American defenseman in the NHL. His innate ability to snuff out opposing scoring chances coupled with his offensive output has made him the Rangers’ catalyst all playoffs long.
After being a Selke finalist for the first time Kopitar has brought an amazing level of defensive acumen to the Kings, going up against the likes of Joe Thornton, Ryan Getzlaf and Jonathan Toews. Kopitar’s offensive productivity has also been off the charts, being the definition of consistency all playoffs long.
The all-world defenseman has had a season to remember and a postseason for the ages. Doughty plays upwards of 25 minutes per game, goes against the top line and quarterbacks the Kings’ power play. His all-around contributions have made all the difference in the Kings’ amazing run to the Stanley Cup Final.
“King Henrik” has been the backbone of the Rangers since arriving in the NHL, and he has taken that to a new level in these playoffs. If the Rangers beat the Kings, look for the Swedish star to be the unquestioned reason why.
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