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Rangers' speed to test Kings' depth, toughness

Monday, 06.02.2014 / 2:45 AM / Kings vs Rangers - 2014 Stanley Cup Final

NHL.com

The New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings may need a little time to feel each other out when they meet in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.

Not only have the Rangers and Kings not played each other in more than six months, they haven't met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since New York's 3-1 series victory in the best-of-5 first round in 1981. Their only other playoff meeting was in 1979, when the Rangers swept a best-of-3 preliminary-round series.

The Rangers and Kings concluded their two-game season series before Thanksgiving, with each team winning in the other's building. The Rangers came to Staples Center for their second game of the season and left with a 3-1 victory that featured a 160-foot shorthanded goal by New York defenseman Ryan McDonagh in the third period on a clearing attempt that bounced past the pad of Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.

The Kings got a measure of revenge Nov. 17, winning 1-0 at Madison Square Garden. Since-traded backup goaltender Ben Scrivens outplayed New York's Henrik Lundqvist by stopping all 37 shots he faced, making rookie Tyler Toffoli's second-period goal stand up for the win.

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First-period rally sparks resilient Kings in Game 7

Monday, 06.02.2014 / 1:39 AM / Winning Ingredients

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- So often before a Game 7 players from the two combatants will stress the importance of the first goal, and the all-time numbers in NHL history back up that theory.

This Los Angeles Kings group has defied convention on so many occasions during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs that rallying for a 5-4 overtime victory after yielding not only the first but the second goal in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final against the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks was a fitting conclusion.

"Obviously we're looking around after being down 2-0, saying this wasn't it for us, it wasn't going to end this way," Kings forward Justin Williams said. "Heck, we've battled back so many times this year, so many times so far in these playoffs. We said, Why not again [Sunday]?"

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Blackhawks give up too many leads, lose series

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- When they look back at the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a critical eye, the Chicago Blackhawks are going to have an extra sting added to the end of their season.

Aside from finishing one shot away from advancing to the Stanley Cup Final a second straight year, losing 5-4 in overtime of Game 7 to the Los Angeles Kings at United Center on Sunday night, the Blackhawks' inability to hold leads caught up to them.

The defending Stanley Cup champions couldn't shake a playoffs-long trend of coughing up leads in Game 7 against the Kings, frittering away leads of 2-0 and 3-2 in the first period and 4-3 in the third. For the series, The Blackhawks saw nine leads melt away thanks to the persistence of the Kings and some defensive lapses and, at times, Corey Crawford's goaltending.

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Kings show mettle in Game 7 win vs. Blackhawks

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

CHICAGO -- The San Jose Sharks thought they had the Los Angeles Kings down and out. The Anaheim Ducks thought the same thing. On Sunday, the Chicago Blackhawks became the latest team to make the mistake of pronouncing the Kings dead.

In a memorable Game 7 of the Western Conference Final, the Blackhawks took a two-goal lead in the first nine minutes. To most everyone, it looked like the Kings had finally run out of gas after rallying from a 3-0 series deficit against the favored Sharks and from a 3-2 hole against the top-seeded Ducks.

But this Kings team is like no other the NHL has seen.

"We never thought we weren't going to do it," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. "Two of their goals were pretty lucky, one from behind the goalie and the chip shot or whatever that was.

"We weren't going to let those kind of goals defeat us. We knew that we were going to get them back, get some dirty goals from crashing the net. That's basically how we won the game; we never gave up."


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2014 Stanley Cup Final schedule

Sunday, 06.01.2014 / 11:45 PM / Kings vs Rangers - 2014 Stanley Cup Final

NHL.com

NEW YORK -- The National Hockey League today announced further schedule information, including starting times and television information, for the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, which begins Wednesday, June 4.

Based on their superior regular-season point total, the Western Conference Champion Los Angeles Kings will host Games One and Two of the best-of-seven Final, as well as Games Five and Seven, if necessary.

Games Three and Four, as well as Game Six, if necessary, will be hosted by the Eastern Conference Champion New York Rangers.

Media Day in advance of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final will be Tuesday, June 3, at STAPLES Center. Interview opportunities will be available with the general manager, head coach and entire roster of each of the clubs participating in the Stanley Cup Final. A full schedule of events for Media Day will be released on Monday.

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Kings advance to face Rangers in Stanley Cup Final

Sunday, 06.01.2014 / 11:00 PM / Kings vs Rangers - 2014 Stanley Cup Final

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings may need a little time to feel each other out when they meet in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.

Not only have the Rangers and Kings not played each other in more than six months, they haven't met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since New York's 3-1 series victory in the best-of-5 first round in 1981. Their only other playoff meeting was in 1979, when the Rangers swept a best-of-3 preliminary-round series.

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Former Devils owner Katz dies in plane crash

Sunday, 06.01.2014 / 5:41 PM / News

NHL.com

Lewis Katz, a former co-owner of the New Jersey Devils, died in a plane crash at Hanscom Field, approximately 20 miles northwest of Boston. He was 72.

Katz was among seven fatalities when a Gulfstream corporate jet, owned by Katz, ran off the end of a runway, plunged down an embankment and erupted in flames during a takeoff attempt Saturday night at approximately 9:40 p.m., according to the Associated Press. There were no survivors.

"The National Hockey League family is stunned and deeply saddened by the loss of former New Jersey Devils owner Lewis Katz," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "While he was a person of tremendous influence in a variety of businesses, including sports, Lewis was, pure and simple, a great guy who highly prioritized his family and his friends. We send heartfelt condolences to them, to the many organizations that benefited from his philanthropy and to all who were affected by this tragic accident."

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Vigneault's steady hand leads Rangers to Cup Final

Sunday, 06.01.2014 / 3:35 PM / Kings vs Rangers - 2014 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- To figure out how and why Alain Vigneault became the ideal coach for the New York Rangers this season, first you have to go back to the preseason schedule in late September.

"It might sound stupid, it probably is, but I always say for a 7 o'clock game, 6:30 warm-up, at 6 o'clock my teams always shut the music off in the dressing room," Vigneault said Sunday. "It sounds stupid, but I always shut it. I did the same thing here."

Until he didn't.

Vigneault on Sunday recounted the story of how his rule changed.

He said defenseman Dan Girardi approached him before an exhibition game to let him know the players, particularly goalie Henrik Lundqvist, would prefer to keep the music on rather than adhere to what at the time might have seemed like a rigid rule of 6 o'clock.

"I said, 'OK, we'll go [to] 6:15,'" Vigneault recalled.

That wasn't good enough.

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Blackhawks, Kings wrap up epic series with Game 7

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- One team is going to make history Sunday night at United Center, and one is going to spend the offseason wondering what might have been.

This Western Conference Final has been an epic showdown befitting the hype that preceded it, and Game 7 is one of the most anticipated NHL games that isn't part of a Stanley Cup Final in years.

There are so many positive numbers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings that's it is hard to sort through them all. These are the two most successful franchises of the past three NHL seasons, and both are set up for future achievements at this level as well.

"Being a part of it we know it's been a special series, a lot of ups and downs, fast, high-paced games," Chicago forward Ben Smith said. "You want to be on the winning side of it. The loser of this series probably won't be remembered… you want to be the guys who come out on top of what's been one of the best series in a while."

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Rangers back at work to prepare for Stanley Cup Final

Sunday, 06.01.2014 / 2:46 PM / Kings vs Rangers - 2014 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- A group of New York Rangers players went to the Yankees game on Saturday as a way to unwind. Rick Nash said he walked around Manhattan to get some fresh air and relax. Others stayed home with their wife and kids, catching up on some lost family time.

"Definitely a mental break," said Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, one of the few who went to Yankee Stadium.

To a man, the Rangers' players commented that staying away from the rink Friday and Saturday was exactly what they needed after playing 20 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and booking their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final with a 1-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.

They were thrust back into reality Sunday, even though it still feels like a dream to be playing meaningful hockey in June.

The Rangers went through the first of three consecutive workouts in preparation of the Cup Final at their suburban training facility. It was a 45-minute high-paced practice. The only players missing were backup goalie Cam Talbot (undisclosed injury, day-to-day) and forward J.T. Miller (upper-body injury, day-to-day).

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