The New York Rangers Can Win Because…
Their defense and goaltending is on another level right now. Although the Kings offense has looked hot, they haven’t faced a goaltender like Henrik Lundqvist in their journey through the West. If the Kings offense reverts back to how it looked in the regular season, they could be in trouble. They finished 25th in scoring this season, averaging just 2.05 goals per game.
The Rangers will also be more rested as the Kings played their third consecutive seven-game series. As for the Rangers, they’ve been off since last Thursday. At this point in the playoffs, that could be a huge advantage.
The Los Angeles Kings Can Win Because…
They can do everything the Rangers do and more. If the games are going to be low-scoring and conservative, that’s great for the Kings. They were the best defensive team in the NHL, allowing just 2.05 goals per game in the regular season. If the games turn out to be high scoring, the Kings have no problems with that either. They’ve just gone through three of the top scoring teams in the NHL in San Jose, Anaheim and Chicago. They’re comfortable in any situation.
The Rangers faced three straight teams with goaltending issues. The Philadelphia Flyers had a weak blue and Steve Mason between the pipes, the Pittsburgh Penguins had some issues with Marc-Andre Fleury and their defensive corps and the Montreal Canadiens lost Carey Price. The Kings are far more talented in that realm with Jonathan Quick and that could make this a very quick series.
Outlook & Pick
The West is significantly stronger than the East this year. On top of that, the Kings are on fire offensively, averaging 3.40 goals per game. That’s going to spell trouble for the Rangers, who will have a tough time manufacturing offense.
Expect this series to play out very similarly to the Los Angeles-New Jersey series from a couple of years ago. Take the Kings with your NHL picks. They should dominate and take care of business in five or six games.Free NHL Pick: Kings In 6 at TheGreek