The all-important first game of the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals is scheduled for Wednesday night in Los Angeles.
A Game One victory would be key for either the New York Rangers or the L.A. Kings. History shows that getting off to a good start makes it much more likely that a team will win the title. Fifty-seven of 74 Game One winners have gone on to win it all. In 2013, the Chicago Blackhawks won the series opener in overtime, then went on to defeat the Boston Bruins in six games.
The Rangers have taken Game One in all three rounds this year. The Kings haven’t been as successful, losing two of three series openers.
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick will be ready to go, despite suffering a possible injury in practice. He took a shot to the right collarbone in Tuesday’s practice, and appeared to be in significant pain. However, Quick brushed off the incident, saying he wasn’t worried about his health.
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Rangers backup goalie Cam Talbot was described as having a “day-to-day” injury on Sunday, after he missed practice. Talbot isn’t likely to see the ice, though he did play over 26 minutes in Game Five against the Montreal Canadiens after Henrik Lundqvist allowed four goals.
The Stanley Cup Finals will be broadcast on two different TV networks. Game One will air on NBC. Viewers can also watch a free online stream with NBC Sports Live Extra.
The Kings are favorites at home, but the location of the contest could actually work in the Rangers’ favor. In the regular season, New York won 25 road games, compared to L.A.’s 23 home wins. The trend has continued in the playoffs, where the Rangers have six road wins and the Kings have just five victories at Staples Center. Quick is a top goalie, but he’s been outperformed by Lundqvist, who’s been terrific all postseason. The Swedish star could help New York steal Game One.
New York over Los Angeles, 3-2