One way or another, this year’s Stanley Cup final is all set to serve up a fairy tale ending to the season for either the LA Kings or the New York Rangers.
For the Rangers, victory would end their 20-year wait for another Stanley Cup, while a second title in three years for the Kings would be all the more remarkable after the LA side became only the fourth team in NHL history to recover from a 3-0 series deficit.
Down and out against San Jose, the Kings roared back into life with four straight victories over the Sharks to seal their progression and, in truth, they haven’t stopped battling since.
Heading into the Game 6 of their Western Conference semi-final against Anaheim, the Kings were very much the underdogs against an in-form Ducks team that had roared back from a two-game deficit to lead the series 3-2.
But with no margin for error the Kings delivered, scoring a tight 2-1 victory before sealing the series in style with a controlling 6-2 triumph over the Californians.
There was no respite in the Western Conference final either, as the 2012 Stanley Cup winners went toe-to-toe with their successors, the Chicago Blackhawks.
Leading 3-1 going into Game 5, Kings coach Daryl Sutter must have thought the battles were over for his team but the reality was that it had only just begun as the defending champions fought back to take the series to a winner-takes-all finale in the Hawk’s nest itself – Chicago’s United Center.
The game itself couldn’t have been more thrilling as the Kings claimed a 5-4 overtime win to set up their Stanley Cup meeting with the Rangers and a date with destiny.
Available at 13/2 to lift the title after their comeback against San Jose, the Kings are now 4/7 favourites for the Stanley Cup with Ladbrokes, having dethroned the previous champions Chicago.
The Kings may have endured a tricky route to the final but having taken on arguably some of the strongest teams in the NHL, they appear better equipped for the high-pressure moments that are sure to follow.
Their opponents, the New York Rangers, may have the opportunity to end their fan’s 20 year wait for the cup but that statistic could yet prove to be something of an albatross around the players’ necks.
The Rangers are 7/5 to take the Stanley Cup with Ladbrokes having eased to a 4-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Final – the weaker of the two divisions.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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