After two heartbreaking overtime losses to open the Stanley Cup Final the New York Rangers find themselves in desperation mode. True, they have been able to come back in the playoffs before, but with two more games looming in Los Angeles, if the Rangers want a legitimate chance to hoist the Cup this year they need to win at Madison Square Garden. Despite the losses, the Rangers have outplayed the Kings in the first two games. With a few unfortunate bounces and two clutch game winning goals, one could argue that the Rangers have been the better and more consistent team in the first two games. This would be a different situation if the Rangers lost in regulation by multiple goals or looked outmatched. The one concerning aspect that the Rangers must take from the previous game was their inability to hold the lead. Not once, not twice, but three times in game two did the blue shirts squander a two goal lead. Lundqvist and the penalty killing unit are playing well, but the Rangers need to improve on two things above all else. First, their power play has been atrocious and the team seems to play better at full strength. Second, stop passing the damn puck too much! I swear the Rangers get too pass happy instead of trying to take open shots or drive to the net. When the Rangers have attacked the net directly in this series is when they’ve had the most success. Ever game in the Stanley Cup Final is crucial, but if the Rangers want to beat the Kings and get back track they must win tonight.
Kings Vs. Rangers: Stanley Cup Preview
It’s finally here! The Stanley Cup Final is upon us. From the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Kings have battled through the defending Cup champions and look for their second championship in three years. From the Eastern conference, the New York Rangers have been the perennial underdogs who find themselves in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in twenty years. With talented rosters and very different roads to reach the Cup Finals, the question is who has the edge? Both teams have been up and down this postseason and have been on the brink of elimination. Now we have the battle between Los Angeles and New York City to see who will be the Cup City. Let’s see how these two teams matchup.
Offense: The Rangers have relied on their speed and aggressiveness to manufacture goals this postseason. With clutch goal scoring at crucial times, the New York offense has scored when it needs it the most. However, despite their speed and ability to use their defense as a fourth forward in the zone, the Rangers still do not have the Kings fire power. The Rangers may distribute the scoring, but scoring leader Martin St. Louis has six goals while LA has four players with more than six goals. The Rangers have also struggled mightily on the power play while the Kings have been one of the best teams on the power play this postseason. The Rangers have been clutch, but with LA’s firepower including Marian Gaborik’s team leading 12 goals, the Kings are the better offensive team. Edge: Kings
Defense: Defense can win championships. LA has some of the most physical defensemen in the NHL. LA will have the physical edge over New York, but the Rangers defense is one of its biggest strengths. Not only does the Rangers defense have incredible speed, but their ability to block shots this postseason is a major reason why they are here. This defense has been great taking the pressure off of Lundqvist when it counts. In game six they held the Canadiens offense, one of the best in the league, to eighteen shots on goal for the whole game. With the fewest goals allowed this postseason the Rangers are hoping that the old saying that “defense wins championships” will work for them. Edge: Rangers
Goaltending: This is what will make or break the series for either team. . There is no question that both Quick and Lundqvist are two of the best if not the two best goaltenders in the NHL. With this being such a close call it is in my opinion that whoever has the best goaltending in this series will win the Cup. With that said, I am giving just the slightest edge in this competition to the Rangers. What? Is probably what most of you are saying. It’s understandable you’ll argue that Quick is younger, has a better post season record, and oh by the way a championship ring already. So why does Lundqvist get the edge? One word, consistency. When Quick is on he is the best goalie in hockey, no question. The problem? He has been maddeningly inconsistent. His 2.86 GAA and .906 save percentage is still far behind Lundqvist’s 2.03 GAA and .928 save percentage. Lundqvist did have that terrible game 5 in Montreal, but when the Rangers have needed him most, he has answered the call. Quick has also played his best hockey when the Kings have been backed into a corner too, but part of the reason for that is his poor play in the beginning of some of those series. Jonathan Quick has given up more than four goals in a game five times this postseason. compared to Lundqvist’s four times. This battle is neck and neck and if Quick plays his best, he is better than Lundqvist. However, Lundqvist has more at stake than Quick and is more reliable than Quick this year. Edge: Rangers (Slight)
Conclusion: Rangers in Seven
This will be a close series. One lucky bounce or bad penalty could decide the who will be champ. The Kings do have home ice advantage, but the Rangers have played well on the road with a 6-4 away record. This will be a great series that will go at least six or seven games. While I won’t be surprised if the Kings win, especially with their experience and if Quick is on, the Rangers are my pick. With their clutch scoring, defense, and Lundqvist in the net I believe the Rangers have the slightest edge and will bring back the cup to New York for the first time in twenty years.
Shark Bait: San Jose Blows 3-0 Lead
What a difference a week makes! After embarrassing the Los Angeles Kings in three consecutive games, the San Jose Sharks once again gave their fan base the illusion of a Stanley Cup Contender. They had even done the impossible, make Jonathan Quick, one of the games best goaltenders, look like a turnstile with 17 goals to open up the series. However, the Sharks forgot that you have to win four games to advance.
After a 4-3 victory in LA for game 3, the Sharks folded like a cheap accordion. Forget about a collapse, talk about an implosion. In their final four games San Jose was outscored 18-5, and even that makes it sound closer than it actually was. Watching their pitiful performance last night, it was apparent that this team wasn’t even close to playing inspired hockey. Forget about still on the bus, the Sharks looked like they never made the trip back home. One thing is clear, the Sharks time is running out. In what can only be described as the decade dynasty of Despite this, in those ten years they have never played in a Stanley Cup Final and have lost in three conference finals even with high conference seedings and home ice advantage. Something needs to change in San Jose.
It’s great that the team is in the playoffs, but terrible that they can never deliver. Sharks fans should be embarrassed by the pitiful showing of this team in the playoffs. After this postseason it is clear that the San Jose Sharks are no predator in the National Hockey League. Instead, they are just shark bait for the Western Conference.
Ranking the NHL’s Stadium Series Jerseys
7: Pittsburgh Penguins
For the Winter Classic the Penguins have been known to wear their old school powder blue uniforms or some combination of the powder blues. It was a surprise when they released a jersey with none of these elements for the Stadium Series game. True it may not be as important as the Winter Classic, but it would have been nice to see the Penguins in their old school blue jerseys. What makes it worse is that they just basically rolled out a watered down version of their current jerseys. The only change is the striping on the jerseys which is boring. If anything, they could have gone with the old black and yellow color palette instead of basically the same exact jersey colors they use all the time. With so many options for the Penguins, it was disappointing that this was the best they could come up with.
6: LA Kings
Even though black and grey is a great color scheme, the Kings somehow screwed this up. Instead of doing a solid black jersey or bringing back the old Kings logo during the Gretzky era, the Kings just put out a grey jersey that looks like it should be a practice jersey. With weird LA should logos, the old crown logo, there just isn’t much to say about these uniforms. They’d have been better off with more black or going back to the old school purple and gold. The would have been awesome to see the purple and gold on the ice again.
5: New York Rangers
The Rangers Winter Classic is one of my favorite jerseys of all time. I had high hopes for the Stadium Series hoping they would bring back a cream colored jersey or another old school look. Instead, the Rangers created a new look that looks like a combination between their old 90s alternates and the Hartford Wolf Pack. Silver? Really? The silver makes no sense, I’d rather see cream than silver. If they were going in this direction, they should have brought back the old statue of liberty logo instead of the New York script across the chest. With better logos and colors, the Rangers struck out when it came to Stadium Series jerseys.
4 Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks had the best Winter Classic jerseys with their classic logo and design. This year, the jerseys are good, but nothing special. It just feels like a lazy attempt. Just a basic black jersey with the current logo. Sure the black looks great with the red and black, but it would have been nice for the Blackhawks to bring back their old logo or jerseys. While it’s not the worst jersey, it’s by no stretch the best.
3: Anaheim Ducks
These jerseys by the Anaheim Ducks are very good. I love the orange color which both pops, but at the same time isn’t obnoxious like some orange jerseys can be. The burnt orange color is something different that you never see in a uniform and looks great with the black, gold, and white trim. The reason this jersey isn’t higher is the logo. While the Giant webbed D is good, we’ve seen it before. True it’s better than the “Ducks” script jersey, but I would have like to see them use the old Mighty Ducks logo with the mask and interlocking sticks. I have always been begging the Ducks to bring back that logo and think that would have been a great time to bring it back. Had they used that logo, they could have been on the top of the list, but without it they stay at number three.
2: New York Islanders
Given the Islanders’ illustrious uniform history which includes some of the worst jersey disasters in hockey history, I was skeptical when it came to their Stadium Series jerseys. However, the Islanders jerseys are incredible and the one jersey in the Stadium Series that should become the team’s third uniform. This would be so much better than those stupid black jerseys the Islanders have. With the classic blue, orange, and white colors, this jerseys looks beautiful. Add in the horizontal stripes on the arms and pants, clean white shoulder stripes and this is an aesthitically pleasing jersey. Then the logo, finally a team that tried something new. I love how the Islanders incorporated the NY part of their logo with a modern twist on the chest. Overall this is a great jersey, and I hope the Islanders keep using these after the Stadium Series.
1: New Jersey Devils
The Devils jersey may not be new or innovative, but it’s nice to see at least one team honor their heritage. Sure Christmas colors may not sound like a winning combination on a hockey sweater, but the Devils make it work. The red, white, and green is simple and beautiful. These jerseys pop with their red color scheme and the green and white highlights are crisp and mesh well together. Sure it may look like Christmas on ice, but who doesn’t love Christmas? Finally the Devils have one of the best logos in hockey, so why mess with perfection? Great logo, great jersey, clearly the winner. Do you agree or disagree? Which was the best Stadium Series jersey and which was the worst? Comment and like below!
Bring them back! NHL jerseys that need to be revived
With the zombie craze sweeping the nation, it made me think what NHL jerseys should rise from the hockey graveyard and be worn again? While I am glad that most teams are going back to more traditional uniforms instead of crazy designs, I still think there are a few looks that should grace the ice once again. Here are five jerseys that the NHL should bring back right away.
5) Buffalo Sabres- Ok Buffalo fans I know you’re not going to love this one but give me a second. I do love the current Sabres sweaters and I’m not saying they should be replaced, but I wouldn’t mind seeing the Sabres don these a few times a year. Come on they’re better than those “Buffalo” script jerseys. These jerseys had it all. The black, red, and silver created an intimidating sweater with a very good logo. Add in the cool shoulder logos with the saber and B and you had a great combination. This jersey also was the banner for a Stanley Cup final team, and would give the Sabres a great intimidation factor when these were put on.
4) Minnesota North Stars- With the mess of Dallas Stars jerseys over the past decade, including their new threads, maybe they should go back in time. Adopt the green, white, and yellow color scheme of old. Instead of being the “N” for North Stars maybe they could do an “S” or “D” with the yellow star. Hey no one has this color scheme in the NHL right now, and it would be a vast improvement over their new ugly sweaters.
3) Winnipeg Jets- The new Jets uniforms are incredible. However, they don’t have an alternate uniform. Instead of trying something new, why not wear the classic Jets jerseys. The combo of red, white, and blue is well-balanced. The old Jets logo with the hockey stick inserted into the script in front of the white background really pops. Hey this was a great jersey back in the day. Why not bring this back and bring back nostalgia for those older fans who had the original Jets in Winnipeg.
2) Mighty Ducks- Boy these were classic. Hey they might have come from a movie, but the white Mighty Ducks uniform with the purple and green was awesome. Add in a cool logo and these jerseys were fantastic. Here’s what I’m purposing. The new Mighty Ducks uniforms look terrible with the Ducks script or the “D” web foot logo on the chest. Instead keep the color scheme of black, gold, and orange in the third jersey and insert the old logo. Hey A black jersey with the orange and gold highlights would make this logo really pop and bring back the best logo in the club’s history while maintaining their new colors.
1) L.A. Kings- While I do love the kings colors of black and silver there is one problem. How many teams now have black in their color palette? A lot. However, no one has a gold and purple color scheme. Hey this was their original look, and would look great alongside their L.A. counterparts, the Lakers. There is something about purple and gold that just evokes royalty, and sophistication. With so many teams having black now incorporated, wouldn’t it be a fresh take if the Kings wore something unique that made them stand out? The Kings would have a look that no one else in the NHL could copy or duplicate. Plus, this crown logo is probably the best they’ve had. Hey, it’s tinsel town, shouldn’t gold be a color for all the glitz and glamour in L.A.? All I know is that I’d love to see the Kings bring these jerseys out of retirement, and bring some L.A. flavor back to the NHL.