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LA Kings And NY Rangers: 2014 Stanley Cup Final Preview/Prediction

The Stanley Cup
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Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — After eight months, the National Hockey League has finally reached the peak of its crescendo, with the New York Rangers here on the left coast to face-off against the Los Angeles Kings in 2014’s quest for hockey’s version of the Holy Grail, the Stanley Cup.

Players, head coaches and general managers of both teams met the media on June 3 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, where the players spent a lot of time analyzing their opponent.

“[The Kings are] a big team,” said Rangers forward Brad Richards. “Straightforward, experienced, and they obviously don’t give up. We’ve seen that over the last few years, and especially this year. You know that their will is there. We’re going to have to get to that, and match that. After that, there’s not a lot of surprises. It’s straightforward hockey, and they’re going to come. Besides that, we’ll see where it goes.”

“They’re obviously a very, very good team,” said Rangers forward Chris Kreider. “That’s why they are where they are, at this point in the season. That’s why they’ve had so much success over the past few years.”

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LA Kings Have 77 Reasons To Be Comfortable, Confident Heading Into Game 7 In Chicago

2014 WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL – GAME 7: The last thing the Los Angeles Kings wanted to do was return to Chicago for Game 7 of the Western Conference Final. But even though they’re in the Windy City, preparing for tonight’s game, they are doing so with comfort and confidence. Final segment of a two-part story.


LA Kings right wing Justin Williams
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Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — As reported in Part 1 of this two-part story, the Los Angeles Kings wanted anything but to return to Chicago, but that is exactly what they had to do after losing Game 6 of their 2014 Western Conference Final series against the Chicago Blackhawks on May 30 in Los Angeles.

Despite that, the Kings are not uncomfortable about being back in the Windy City for tonight’s Game 7 (5:00 PM PDT). After all…

  • The Kings are 6-4 all-time in Game 7’s.
  • They have a combined 77 games of Game 7 experience.
  • Kings players have a combined record of 70-7 in Game 7’s. Read more of this post

Anze Kopitar’s Improvement In Face-Off Circle Is A Key Factor In LA Kings’ Playoff Success

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar (right), shown here being pursued by
Chicago Blackhawks left wing Patrick Kane.

EL SEGUNDO, CA — One of the reasons the Los Angeles Kings have made it all the way to Game 7 of the 2014 Western Conference Final has been their ability to possess the puck, and as players and coaches will tell you, puck possession begins in the face-off circle.

Kings Center Jarret Stoll has been one of the best in the National Hockey League in the face-off circle since his days with the Edmonton Oilers. But star center Anze Kopitar, now one of the best face-off men in the league, has had to really work on face-offs, a part of his game that was rather deficient when he started out.

In 2006-07, his rookie season, Kopitar won just 46.1 percent of his draws. It took him five seasons before he really improved, jumping up to 53.8 percent in the 2011-12 season, even though his percentage dropped to 48.6 percent during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when the Kings won the Stanley Cup.

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2014 Western Conference Final: LA Kings Need To Shore Up Defense In Game 6, A Must-Win Situation

LA Kings defenseman Drew Doughty
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Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Through three rounds of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Los Angeles Kings have an 11-8 post-season record and their eight losses can be chalked up to, primarily, poor defensive play.

That was also apparent in their 5-4, double overtime loss in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on May 28, in Chicago.

The Kings lead the series, 3-2, with Game 6 scheduled for tonight at Staples Center in Los Angeles (6:00 PM PDT; televised in the United States on NBCSN, and in Canada on CBC and RDS).

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