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Who has the special teams edge in Stanley Cup Final?

Jun 2, 2014, 3:41 PM EDT

Jeff Carter AP

If you take penalties against the Los Angeles Kings, they’ll make you pay. Through 21 postseason games, the Kings have capitalized on 25.4% of their power-play opportunities. To give that some context, that’s two percent better than any team did in the regular season.

But that number might be skewed by the fact that they haven’t had to face the Rangers. New York had one of the best penalty kills in the league during the regular season (third, 85.3%) and they’ve been just as effective in the playoffs (85.9%).

Montreal found out the hard way that past special teams success won’t necessarily translate against New York as the Canadiens were effective with the man advantage against Boston, but scored just two power-play goals in 23 opportunities in the Eastern Conference Final.

That doesn’t mean the Rangers have a clear special teams edge though. While the Kings have only successfully killed 81.2% of their penalties, the Rangers might not be a team capable of exploiting that, given their anemic 13.6% power-play success rate. In other words, this is a battle between two great special team units on one side and mediocre ones on the other.

At the end of the day, the Rangers can take comfort in the fact that the better power-play team has come up short in recent years. Chicago (11.4%) beat Boston (17.5%), Los Angeles (12.8%) beat New Jersey (15.3%), and Boston (11.4%) beat Vancouver (20.4%) in the last three postseasons.

At the same time, what we’ve seen is that an effective penalty kill is very important.

So this might be one area where recent history suggests that the Rangers should have the edge. Then again, this is the first time we’ve had a team make it to the Stanley Cup Final after playing in the maximum 21 games. Past trends and norms can be overcome and Los Angeles has embodied that.

  1. hosewater2 - Jun 2, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    The Kings do. The Kings are superior in every way. Next question.

    • c1md6 - Jun 2, 2014 at 4:11 PM

      You sound upset.

  2. opattytheirishrover - Jun 2, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    A big part of this series I think is the rangers gotta stay out of the box, in a much bigger way than they did vs Montreal, those kings….will make em pay otherwise. As a fan of hockey in general, I couldn’t be more excited for this series!!

  3. papajack1259 - Jun 2, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    LAhas to be but Lady Luck and a few hard nose efforts change things rather quickly do not count the Rangers out they are clicking right at the right time and personally I would love to see Torts face if they pull it off. Where is Vancouver? Oh yea….

  4. papajack1259 - Jun 2, 2014 at 4:30 PM

    I just do not like Tort…I am looking forward to see if Nash plays up to the stage he is on same with Richards.

  5. bleedrangerblue - Jun 2, 2014 at 5:39 PM

    LGR!! Gonna be fun series!!

  6. matt14gg - Jun 2, 2014 at 7:50 PM

    “The King” is going to have to shut down the Kings. If Hank ever needed to find the greatest two weeks of his hockey life now’s the time. He’s capable of it too, but it’s also going to require Quick to be slightly less than he usually is. Rangers in seven!

  7. 34defense2014 - Jun 2, 2014 at 9:20 PM

    The only way the Rags win is if Hank puts the team on his back! Which he can do!! If he’s on?!?!? If he’s not?!?? He’s way off!!! It’s all going to come down to Hank!! If he plays like the Net minder we know he can be! They can win! If not??? Rags don’t stand a chance!!! Nash is the most overrated Hockey Player in the NHL!!!

  8. blomfeld - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    Wednesday is a ‘good’ day for a fight …


    *** somewhere out on the great plain ***

    Blom Feather: who are these people who now enter the valley below ?

    Ten Bears: I believe they call themselves the ‘Rangers’ or something ?

    Crazy Dog: yeah ? … well more like ‘Elaine & friends’ if you ask me !

    Blom Feather: we will fight them on Wednesday … that is a ‘good’ day to fight …

  9. kane987245 - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    No one will agree with me, but I have looked at all the PP states for scoring, killing, Goalie match ups, etc. I am telling you, the NYR SHOULD be the favorite in this series but are not because they are not the Offensive team that is flashy and in the spot light. The Rangers D have been shutting down offensive teams all playoffs long. PHI, PIT, and MON.

    If they stay out the box and continue to score their PPG’s on the road like they have been, they have a great shot at winning the Cup. If NYR diminishes LA’s offense like they did with others, LA has to rely on 5-5 DEF and the NYR has been better than them in that aspect as well. This series should be talking about if LA can keep their offense going against a tremendous DEF of the NYR. Instead everyone is talking about how LA is going to win. I think a lot of people are going to be in for a rude awakening when the NYR grabs one of the games in LA.

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