Tonight begins the Stanley Cup Final between the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings. The best of seven series will get underway at the Staples Center at 8:00 pm EST.
For the Rangers, the journey has almost been realized. After a disastrous start to their 2013-2014 campaign, no one thought the team would get this far, let alone make the playoffs. Newly arrived head coach Alain Vigneault‘s “clean slate” attitude heading into training camp was met with mixed reviews. But as the season progressed, the team adjusted to his open ice style of play and the team came together. The result of their hardwork is a trip to the Stanley Cup Final.
The question now becomes: Can Vigneault help coach the Rangers to a Cup? Obviously, the demons of his post season failures with the Vancouver Canucks, including losing the to the Boston Bruins in seven games during the Stanley Cup Final in 2011, are well-documented. The first two games of this year’s Final may help us answer that question.
Cam Talbot is listed as day to day with a undisclosed injury. The Rangers’ backup, who has been one of the huge reasons why the team is where it is, relieved Henrik Lundqvist in game five of the Eastern Conference Final against the Montreal Canadiens. His only other appearance in these playoffs was in game six, against the Philadelphia Flyers. If Talbot is unable to play tonight, the Rangers will have 31 year old David Leneveu in his spot.
A reunion of former players will be on display tonight. Former Rangers Marian Gaborik will make his playoff debut against his former team, as a member of the Los Angeles Kings. He is the teams leading goal scorer with 12. He appears to have found his scoring touch and rejuvenated his hockey career.
Brian Boyle faces his former team in the biggest hockey stage. After being traded in 2009 to New York, his career has been a roller coaster of ups and downs. However, he has played an important part for the team this season. His play on the fourth line and penalty kill has helped define his role as a defensive juggernaut, especially in the playoffs.
Get ready for game one of the Stanley Cup Final is upon us.