Stanley Cup final: New York Rangers out to overpower Los Angeles Kings
Last Updated: 03/06/14 7:45am
New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault believes it time for their “underdog” tag to be reversed as they prepare for a best-of-seven Stanley Cup final against the Los Angeles Kings.
The Rangers’ showdown will begin at California’s Staples Center on Wednesday and Vigneault revealed he is in confident spirits.
However the Kings, who won the title in 2012, dethroned reigning champions Chicago Blackhawks in overtime of the seventh game on Sunday to make the showpiece event.
New York closed out the Montreal Canadiens in six games in the Eastern Conference finals to claim their place in the Stanley Cup final for the first time since 1994, when they won the competition.
I know LA has been there before, I know they've won before, I know they've played in three game-sevens and won them all and just beat the Stanley Cup champions - I get that.
Despite coming up against the highest scoring team of the play-off, Rangers coach Vigneault admitted: "I like our chances.
"I know LA has been there before, I know they've won before, I know they've played in three game-sevens and won them all and just beat the Stanley Cup champions - I get that.
"Throughout these playoffs, and it's not going to change now, we've been the underdog. But what we've done is focus on how we play and what we need to do on the ice. That's definitely what we're going to do come Wednesday."
The Kings head into the match as clear favourite having seen off the defending champions and scoring 28 goals in the process, although the Rangers will have faith in Henrik Lundqvist.
Swedish goaltender Lundqvist is level with Boston Bruins’ Tuukka Rask at the top of the save percentage charts and despite already boasting an Olympic gold medal, it will be a first Stanley Cup final for the 32-year-old.
Former Rangers rigbt wing Marian Gaborik, who joined the Kings at trade deadline, leads the post-season attacking statistics with 12 goals and seven assists.
Stanley Cup final series
June 4 - Staples Center
June 7 - Staples Center
June 9 - Madison Square Gardens
June 11 - Madison Square Gardens
June 13 - Staples Center
June 16 - Madison Square Gardens
June 18 - Staples Center
Jeff Carter, who had eight goals to help the Kings seize the trophy two years ago, has nine goals in this post-season.
The Kings enter the final battle-hardened after a testing play-off run, with a 5-4 overtime win over the champions Chicago in game seven of the Western Conference finals making them the first team to reach the Stanley Cup final with three game-seven victories on the road.
Against San Jose in the opening round, the Kings became only the fourth team in NHL history to rally for a series win after trailing 3-0.
They won games six and seven to finish off the Anaheim Ducks in the second round and three of the teams Los Angeles had to get past were all among the top seven in the NHL's overall standings this year.
Meanwhile, the Rangers edged the Philadelphia Flyers in seven games in the first round, and then rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat Pittsburgh Penguins in seven games in the second.