Jun 1, 2014, 5:44 PM EDT
You won’t run into many situations in which an idle playoff team will acknowledge its preferred opponent as the next round approaches. Even so, it seems that much easier to believe the New York Rangers when they seem ambivalent regarding their opponent in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.
As strong as the Rangers have looked during their best moments in their first run to the championship round in 20 years, there’s a good chance most pundits will predict that the winner of Sunday’s Game 7 between the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks will go on to win it all.
Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault certainly didn’t provide any potential bulletin board material to the Bergen Record, deeming it a “pick your poison” situation.
“They’re two different teams,” Derick Brassard said. “Chicago is really high skilled. They transition really well. They have a good D corps. And L.A. is in your face. They work hard. But it doesn’t matter. We never picked our opponent. Every round you’re facing a different team and you’re up for the challenge.”
Whether the Rangers are “rooting” for one team or the other, they admit that they’ll watch tonight’s big contest.
They’ll bring an interesting perspective, too.
“I think it’s 50-50 – as a fan, but also you try to see what they like to do,” Henrik Lundqvist said. “We only played them twice, so we kind of know what to expect, but we’re going to have meetings in the next couple of days to go over what they like to do. But, a big part of me just likes watching the games right now. It’s intense out there. It’s good speed and great players making great plays, good goaltending. So, it’s fun to watch the game.
“So, I’m a fan, but also will try to learn a little bit.”
For what it’s worth, the Rangers fared pretty well in their games against those Western Conference powers:
Jan. 3: 3-2 at Chicago
Feb. 27: 2-1 win vs. Chicago
Oct. 7: 3-1 win at Los Angeles
Nov. 17: 1-0 loss vs. Los Angeles
Obviously a lot of time has passed and the stakes are significantly higher, so they might actually learn more from watching these two teams on June 1 than they would from meetings stretching back several months.
Apr 25, 2015, 12:28 AM EDT
St. Louis couldn’t capitalize on an early lead.
Apr 24, 2015, 11:30 PM EDT
Pittsburgh and Ottawa need to win to survive.
Apr 24, 2015, 11:24 PM EDT
He didn’t get a point in the first round.
Apr 24, 2015, 10:57 PM EDT
Senators coach Dave Cameron called it “cheap” and a sign of frustration.
Apr 24, 2015, 10:35 PM EDT
Evgeni Malkin finished the series without a point.
Apr 24, 2015, 10:14 PM EDT
Alexander Steen played a big role in that marker.
Apr 24, 2015, 9:57 PM EDT
Another 45 saves tonight.
Apr 24, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT
The odds of him playing were initially “50-50.”
Apr 24, 2015, 8:59 PM EDT
That tied Game 5 between Pittsburgh and the Rangers at 1-1.
Apr 24, 2015, 8:25 PM EDT
He won’t return tonight.
Apr 24, 2015, 7:47 PM EDT
is that the start of a breakout for him?
Apr 24, 2015, 7:13 PM EDT
He had a strong season offensively.
Apr 24, 2015, 6:38 PM EDT
The Canadiens goaltender looks like the heavy favorite.
Apr 24, 2015, 5:28 PM EDT
His departure in Game 4 was cited as a turning point.
Apr 24, 2015, 4:16 PM EDT
“Lots of possibilities have been thrown out about an arena for the last decade and none of them have materialized.”
Apr 24, 2015, 3:40 PM EDT
After allowing four goals in a Game 5 loss to Nashville.
Apr 24, 2015, 3:17 PM EDT
“In this business, you can’t be afraid to make trades.”
Apr 24, 2015, 2:48 PM EDT
Much like he did at the end of last year.
Apr 24, 2015, 2:20 PM EDT
Game 6 goes tomorrow in Chicago.
Apr 24, 2015, 2:10 PM EDT
Currently coaching Ottawa’s AHL affiliate in Binghamton.
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