With the completion of the conference finals this past weekend the Stanley Cup finals are set. The New York Rangers make their first appearance since the middle of the 1990s. Their opponent is the Los Angeles Kings, who are making their second appearance in the last three seasons.
The Rangers got past the Montreal Canadiens in six games to clinch home ice. The Los Angeles Kings saw a 3-1 series lead over Chicago disappear, eventually finding themselves down 2-0 in game seven. They managed to fight back, though, winning on an overtime goal by Alec Martinez.
As game seven between the Blackhawks and Kings went into overtime I had the feeling that whoever scored the next goal would be the winner of the Stanley Cup. I know there’s an entire series ahead, but while watching the four teams in the conference finals it just seemed like the West has a distinct advantage. They’re stronger, faster, and higher-octane. Considering this I predict the Kings will win the series and the right to have Lord Stanley’s cup for the next season. I expect them to take care of business in five games but they could easily sweep the Rangers.
Coming up next week: a three-part series about the 2013 Wild and a look forward to their offseason.
Peter Ripka is the co-host of the Rambling On podcast. He's a blogger and analyst who specializes in sports, particularly hockey and baseball. Reach him via email or find him on Facebook and Twitter.