2014 Stanley Cup Final: The 5 Most Inspirational Players

2014 Stanley Cup Final: The 5 Most Inspirational Players

Justin Williams Los Angeles Kings
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The Stanley Cup Final between the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers only lasted five games, but it certainly wasn’t short of action and excitement. The Kings are now the champs and the Rangers are waiting for next season. Each of these teams' strong play relies on effort just as much as skill. Here are the five most inspirational players during the 2014 Cup Final.

5. Ryan McDonagh

Ryan McDonagh Dustin Brown
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5. Ryan McDonagh

Ryan McDonagh Dustin Brown
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McDonagh has developed into the Rangers’ defensive rock, and he played that role well in the finals. McDonagh led the Rangers in points with one goal and three assists, but the biggest reason he’s on this list is his ice time. McDonagh played 166:18 over the five games, averaging 33:15. In Game 5, he played over 40 minutes and did all he could to help the Rangers come back in the series.

4. Marion Gaborik

Marion Gaborik Henrik Lundqvist
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4. Marion Gaborik

Marion Gaborik Henrik Lundqvist
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Gaborik was definitely motivated to make an impact against his former team in the finals. His motivation turned into inspiration for his teammates, as Gaborik scored two important goals in the series. They were both third-period goals and they tied the score to allow the Kings to win both games in overtime. Gaborik was one of the few Kings who were not a part of the 2012 run, and you could see how happy his teammates were for him to win it.

3. Mats Zuccarello

Mats Zuccarello New York Rangers
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3. Mats Zuccarello

Mats Zuccarello New York Rangers
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The smallest man on the ice played with just as much heart as anybody in the finals. He was New York’s most consistent forward and their best player for parts of the series. Zuccarello played strong defensively and also drew some penalties against L.A. He plays with a certain edge and energy that his teammates can feed off of, and he showed it in the finals.

2. Justin Williams

Justin Williams Conn Smythe Trophy
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2. Justin Williams

Justin Williams Conn Smythe Trophy
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Williams won his third Stanley Cup in this series and his first Conn Smythe Trophy. Nobody was more deserving of the MVP award than Williams, and his fellow Kings couldn’t be happier for him. He was the catalyst of two Los Angeles comebacks in Games 1 and 2 that ended in OT victories. Williams scored big goal after big goal in the playoffs and finished it off by leading the Kings in points in the finals.

1. The Goaltenders

Henrik Lundqvist Jonathan Quick
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1. The Goaltenders

Henrik Lundqvist Jonathan Quick
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It’s hard to choose between Jonathan Quick and Henrik Lundqvist, and they both deserve to be No. 1 on this list. They combined to make 315 saves in the five games. Quick refused to give up the big goal, outlasting Lundqvist in three separate overtime games. Trying to will his team to a win, Lundqvist made 48 saves in Game 5. There’s no doubt that both teams were inspired by their respective goalies.

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