By Tyler Ruby on June 4, 2014
Only four wins separate the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers from hoisting Lord Stanley's Cup. Every year, the Stanley Cup Final plays out differently, and this year brings out plenty of other storylines to keep an eye on. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are so often unpredictable, and both of these teams seem destined to lift the cup.
With that in mind, here are five bold predictions for this year's Stanley Cup Final.
Everyone loves overtime hockey, especially in the playoffs. The New York Rangers have gone to overtime three times, while the Los Angeles Kings have played in four overtimes. Well, I am here to tell you that there will be no overtime games in the Stanley Cup Final. The games won't lack excitement, but they won't be in a sudden-death format either.
I know it's not smart to pick against Henrik Lundqvist, considering all that he has done in the league, as well as in the Olympics, but in his first Stanley Cup Final, Lundqvist will struggle. He hasn't faced an offense like the one the Kings have, and he could be left out to dry by his defensive corps.
The Rangers' offense immediately became more dynamic once Chris Kreider returned to the lineup. His speed brings a whole different element into the game that the Kings defensemen will have to account for. With all the attention going to Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis, expect Kreider to have a huge series for the Rangers.
Drew Doughty played the most minutes of any King in Game 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks, and he will see a similar workload in this series. His speed, positioning and puck-moving ability has increased dramatically in the postseason. While he is responsible for keeping tabs on the Rangers' top guns, Doughty will make a huge difference on the offensive end as well, especially on the power play.
It's difficult to pick a short series in the Stanley Cup Final, but the Los Angeles Kings are just a better team than the New York Rangers. This is why the Kings will win in five games back home at the Staples Center. With two Stanley Cups in three years, the Kings could be on the verge of a mini-dynasty.
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