The Los Angeles Kings host the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday night at Staples, and we've got your guide. The puck drops at 5 p.m.
If you're a fan, you may already know this stuff. But if you're not — or if you'd like a refresher — here are five things to make you sound like an expert.
1. Cracks in the Wall
Goalie Jonathan Quick was a stone wall during the Kings’ 2012 Stanley Cup run. In 20 playoff games that year, he allowed an average of only 1.41 goals per game — a half a goal better than his goals against average during the regular season.
This year is different. Quick’s goals against average through 21 games is 2.86 – almost a full goal higher than it had been during the regular season.
2. Past Is Not Prologue
The Kings and Rangers split two games this season, but little from those games has much meaning for this series.
The Rangers beat the Kings in Los Angeles — 3-1 — in the third game of the season. Rangers captain Brad Richards scored two goals, while goalie Henrik Lundqvist turned away 29 of 30 shots.
Five weeks later, the Kings shut out the Rangers in New York – 1-0. The Kings’ goalie that night was Ben Scrivens. In January, the Kings traded him to the Edmonton Oilers for a third-round draft pick.
3. Global Icing
You already know that most of the players in the NHL come from Canada or the United States. But hockey is now a global sport, and the rosters of the Kings and Rangers reflect that.
The Kings have players from Slovenia (Anze Kopitar), Slovakia (Marian Gaborik) and Russia (Slava Voynov).
The Rangers’ roster includes players from Sweden (Henrik Lundqvist, Carl Hagelin, Anton Stalman) and Norway (Mats Zuccarello).
4. Resilient Rangers
The Rangers’ star right winger Martin St. Louis lost his mother to a heart attack last month. He flew home to Laval, Quebec, to be with his father. His father sent him home to rejoin the Rangers during their playoff series with the Pittsburgh Penguins, telling him that his mother would have wanted him to play. St. Louis and Carl Hagelin lead the Rangers with six playoff goals each.
Rangers center Dominic Moore returned to the NHL this season after 18 months. He’d set his playing career on hold to take care of his wife Katie as she battled a rare form of liver cancer. After Katie’s death in January 2013, Dominic founded the Katie Moore Foundation to raise money for research into rare cancers.
5. Kings’ Road, Road Kings
Home ice advantage? Not when you play the Kings. They’re 7-5 in road games during the playoffs, including three Game 7 wins. When they won the Stanley Cup in 2012, the Kings were 9-1 on the road during the playoffs.
The Rangers are the King of the Road when it comes to attendance. The average crowd to see the Rangers play on the road is 19,572 – second only to the Toronto Maple Leafs. But the Rangers lead all NHL teams when it comes to percentage of road arena capacity – 111.9%. That’s due in part to Ranger fans who can’t get a ticket to Madison Square Garden following their team on a short road trip to play the New York Islanders or New Jersey Devils.
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