HabsWorld.net -- 

The Stanley Cup final begins tonight, with the Los Angeles Kings at home to face the New York Rangers. Unfortunately the Habs are not in the final series, after coming very close to it with a conference final loss to the Rangers last week. The HabsWorld writers have the following predictions on this East coast vs West coast match.

Los Angeles Kings vs New York Rangers

Brian La Rose predicts: New York in 6
Alex Létourneau predicts: Los Angeles in 5
Kevin Meldrum predicts: Los Angeles in 7
Simon Aronson predicts: Los Angeles in 6
Norm Szcyrek predicts: Los Angeles in 5

(Brian) Somebody has to pick the Rangers, right?  I think goaltending will
be the difference here.  Henrik Lundqvist, aside from a couple of games,
has been very strong this postseason.  Jonathan Quick on the other hand has
been very hot and cold and did not play well in the last few games against
Chicago.  New York boasts a balanced attack and can roll four lines to
counter the Kings’ also-balanced attack.  The Rangers have had a tendency
to stymie the top threats on opposing teams thus far and I think they’ll be able
to hold down the likes of Carter, Gaborik, and Kopitar.  I suspect this
will be a lower scoring series than most expect and that plays right into New
York’s hands.

(Alex) I didn’t see Los Angeles here, and now that they are, I don’t see how they can lose. I’m not sure if New York is actually that fast of a team, or whether Montreal didn’t have their feet moving for most of the series. But either way you cut it, LA can skate and they can punish. I can’t see New York’s defense matching up well against any of the big bodies the Kings have at their disposal to put in front of Henrik Lundqvist. New York seemed bothered by Montreal’s physical play at times; they’ll be horrified with LA’s. Player for player, Los Angeles’ roster is loaded with game breakers and experience. While full kudos need to be given to Dustin Tokarski, he is not a world class goaltender. If New York thought it was tough to beat him, Jonathan Quick will be a nightmare. Fatigue may be a factor for the Kings, who’ve played the maximum amount of games to get to the cup, but they didn’t look tired in that wonderful game 7 against Chicago. Anything’s possible and something series changing in favour of New York is always possible, but, as it stands now, before the puck drops, New York is in for a real tough time. And for what it’s worth, even if Montreal had made it through, I’d have them catching a beating from either team that came out of the west.

(Kevin) Why not be the first team to win all rounds in the playoffs in game 7. The two teams are very close. They both have 4 good lines with a little edge to LA. I believe the Rangers biggest advantage is their defence. They have the most complete top 4 in the league so I give them the edge here. In net I say it is equal; both goalies can steal games or make just the right amount saves required for the win. I believe it will be a very close, very entertaining finals, but LA is just a bit better and I believe they will prevail.

(Simon) The Los Angeles Kings are a team built for the playoffs. They play fast and heavy with strong defense and elite goaltending as well as having the experience of winning the Cup in 2012. The Kings have overcome a lot of adversity in these playoffs, starting with a come back to beat the San Jose Sharks after being down 3-zip in the first round. Since then they have won two more game 7’s including knocking off the defending champion Blackhawks to get to the Stanley Cup final. The Kings seem too strong and well rounded to lose now, although the Rangers do possess some good players as well as a goalie capable of stealing a game or two.

(Norm) The Cinderella Rangers were expected by very few to make it this far. They’ve done a good job with a solid defence and good goaltending, with excellent speed and forechecking up front. The Kings were expected to be a Cup contender at the start of the playoffs. They have been exceptional this postseason up front, with timely performances in goal and on defence too. The fatigue factor should not be an issue, since Los Angeles has played only one more game than the Rangers. The Kings handled the speed of the Chicago Blackhawks in the last round, and will adjust to New York’s quickness similarly. I believe the difference maker will be Jonathan Quick, who will outplay Henrik Lundqvist in the final series, with the Kings not having to go a full seven games to win it all.