The 2014 Stanley Cup finals begins Wednesday when the Los Angeles Kings host the New York Rangers. The teams have met twice before in postseason play, with the Rangers winning the Preliminary Round series over the Kings in 1979 & 1981.
The Kings are in the Cup finals for the second time in three seasons, while the Rangers are making their first finals appearance since 1994.
Here are some of the top stats to know heading into this coast-to-coast series.
Stats & Info Goaltracking
This series is the first championship meeting between a team from New York City and a team from Los Angeles in the four major sports since 1981, when the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the New York Yankees in six games in the 1981 World Series.
Both the Rangers and the Kings had long series in each of the first three rounds of the 2014 playoffs. The Kings played 21 games (all three series going seven games), while the Rangers played 20 (two seven-game series and a six-game series).
Since all four rounds of the playoffs became seven-game series in 1987, no Stanley Cup Champion had played more than 18 games in the first three rounds of the playoffs, a mark that the eventual winner of this series has already surpassed.
The Kings are trying to become the third West Coast team in the post-expansion era to win the Stanley Cup. The Kings themselves won in 2012 over New Jersey, while the Anaheim Ducks won in 2007 over the Ottawa Senators.
Kings center Anze Kopitar currently leads the playoffs in assists (19) and points (24). In Kings history, only Wayne Gretzky has had more assists in a single postseason (25) and only Gretzky (40) and Tomas Sandstrom (25) have racked up more points.
On the defensive end, the Kings allowed the fewest goals during the 2013-14 regular season (174). Since the NHL first made the playoffs more conference-based for the 1993-94 season, the team that has allowed the fewest goals during the regular season has gone on to win the Stanley Cup only four times.
Most Stanley Cups Won
By U.S.-Based Franchises
The Rangers are seeking their first Stanley Cup since 1994, when they beat Vancouver in the Final. The Rangers have won the Stanley Cup four previous times, trailing only the Red Wings(11), Bruins (6) & Blackhawks (5) in Cup wins among U.S.-based teams.
Veteran right wing Martin St. Louis is among three Rangers tied for the team lead in points (with Derek Stepan & Ryan McDonagh) this postseason with 13 in 20 games. During the regular season, St. Louis had just eight points in 19 games with the Rangers after being acquired in a deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning at the trade deadline.
While there will be no shortage of offensive power, this series may come down to the netminders. Among the goaltenders on the rosters of the 16 teams to make the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, none has more career playoff shutouts than the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist (9). Just behind him on that list is the Kings’ Jonathan Quick (8).