“That's what I've heard,” said Kings defenseman
"It was good hockey to be a part of. It was a lot of fun. Good battles, a really skilled, hard team. To come out on top in that series was special."
As gripping as it was, as resourceful as the Kings were in winning their third Game 7 on the road in these playoffs and advancing to the
Can they possibly combine to top the breathtaking rallies and displays of skill that made the West final so memorable?
“Yeah, we can top it,” Kings defenseman
Why not, indeed?
Like the Kings, the Rangers know something about resilience and perseverance, having turned around their season after a slow start that had them dragging around the .500 mark and in danger of missing the playoffs.
“We pretty much had to win seven games out of every 10-game segment,” said center
"It took a lot of work to get in but we were feeling more confident about our game than we were in the first half."
Like the Kings, who acquired winger
St. Louis has become the team's emotional fulcrum, playing with great grace following the recent unexpected death of his mother. He is tied for the lead in playoff scoring for the Rangers with six goals and 13 points in 20 games.
In a hockey universe turned upside down by the Kings' winning the Cup in 2012 and becoming a perennial contender and the once high-spending, glamour-oriented Rangers building an identity around speed, gritty shot blocking and defense, anything is possible. And that includes a Stanley Cup Final more dazzling than the splendid West final.
“I think if both teams play like they have been playing in each conference it's going to be a great series,” said
"It's a great matchup. Both teams are very deep and it's going to take the whole roster to get the job done. There can't be any passengers. I think it's going to be a very exciting series."
The Rangers, making their first appearance in the Cup Final since they defeated Vancouver in seven games in 1994, are less concerned with entertainment value than winning.
“With our group it might not always be very pretty,” defenseman
"For us, everyone is buying in that it doesn't need to be a pretty play. We'll try to win games, no matter if they're pretty or not."
Kings right wing
"We're going to have to be better than we were in the Chicago series to beat New York, absolutely," he said. "We had to be better in the Chicago series than we were in the Anaheim series. And it just goes all the way along. Teams don't get here by chance. It's going to be a great series."
One in which the Kings say they can top their exploits against Chicago.
“You have to, if you want to win,” center