The Los Angeles Kings defied history when they won the Stanley Cup two years ago. This time they'll have history on their side.
The Kings finished the 2013-14 regular season with 100 points, four more than the New York Rangers, meaning the Stanley Cup Final will begin in Los Angeles rather than the Big Apple on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS), with Game 2 at Staples Center three days later.
This is the 75th time the Stanley Cup Final has been a best-of-7 series. In the 72 previous series when one team entered with more points than the other (in the other two the finalists had equal point totals), the one with more points won 56 times. The Kings, who entered the 2012 Final with seven fewer points than the New Jersey Devils (102-95), are the most recent of the 16 teams with fewer points to win the Cup.
It's the first time in the Kings' three trips to the Final that they've had more points than their opponent. The 1993 Kings had 88 points, 14 fewer than the Montreal Canadiens, who won the series in five games.
New York is making its first trip to the Final since 1994, when it won the Presidents' Trophy as the NHL's best regular-season team with 112 points and defeated the Vancouver Canucks (85 points) in seven games. The 27-point disparity is the largest between the two finalists since 1982, when the New York Islanders had 41 more points than the Canucks, who they swept in four games, the biggest disparity ever between teams in the Final.
This is the Rangers' sixth trip to the Final in the best-of-7 era and the fourth time they've had fewer points than their opponent. The other time they had more points was 1940, when they had eight more than the Toronto Maple Leafs (64-56) and won the Cup in six games. The Rangers are 0-3 when their Cup Final opponent had more points during the regular season.
In 1980 the Islanders set the mark for the biggest disparity overcome by a Cup winner, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers in a six-game Final after finishing 25 points behind their division rival in the regular season. The 1980 Islanders are the only one of the 20 teams to finish 20 or more points behind its opponent in the regular season and win the Cup.
The Kings are the 15th team whose advantage is five points or fewer. Nine of the previous 13, including the past four, have won the Cup.