Pick Your Poison Rangers Fans: LA or Chicago

The Kings and Blackhawks are beating each other up in the WCF (Jeff Gross /Getty)

The Kings and Blackhawks are beating each other up in the WCF (Jeff Gross /Getty)

Last night, Patrick Kane led his Blackhawks to another come from behind victory to force Game 7. It was exactly what the Rangers and their fans were hoping for. The only thing better would be a triple OT thriller on Sunday to decide the Western Conference Champ.

The Leastern Conference vs. The Bestern Conference

For the last few weeks I’ve been putting in extra hours gathering info from many hockey related radio programs, tv shows and websites. All of them practically have said that the WCF is going to decide the Stanley Cup.

The Kings are just to big and skilled to be beaten. They can wear you down and snuff you out with their size and defense. They have incredible depth at center and will be impossible to take down.

The Blackhawks are just too fast, determined and loaded with talent to lose. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are the best players remaining in these playoffs. They simply can beat you in so many ways.

After hearing all that, why waste everyone’s time and hand the winner of the West the Cup after game 7 on Sunday? Not so fast I say.

CHANGING THEIR TUNE

The song has changed in recent days for some. Many have taken notice of the Rangers as they have advanced through these Stanley Cup playoffs. Doubts have crept in and now they aren’t so sure of their forgone conclusion from a few weeks ago.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie was on NHL radio on Friday and said “The Rangers have speed and are sneaky big.” It’s something I’ve been saying all playoffs long as well. McKenzie explained, “For every Marty St. Louis and Mats Zuccarello there is a Rick Nash, Benoit Pouliot and Brian Boyle.”

After McKenzie finished his thoughts around how incredible Henrik Lundqvist is playing, he said the Rangers have a chance to win it all. As the day progressed, more and more started singing the Rangers praises and although many stand firm the West will win, others were no longer so convinced.

The Rangers are in the Stanley Cup Finals (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The Rangers are in the Stanley Cup Finals (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

THAT’S A LOT OF HOCKEY

The NY Rangers have played 3 rounds of 7, 7 and 6 games for a total of 20. The LA Kings will be playing their 3rd straight 7 game series for 21 games. While the Chicago Blackhawks are playing their 19th after going 6, 6, and 7.

The Blueshirts have played 60 periods of hockey plus 10:12 of OT for 60.5 periods. In the West the Hawks have played 54 periods with 96:51 of OT going into game 7. The LA Kings have already played as many periods as the Rangers. They have 60 periods in to go with 40:31 of OT, with at least 3 more periods yet to play.

So quick breakdown if the WCF Game 7 ends in regulation:

NYR: 20 games – 60.5 periods – 1210 minutes of hockey

CHI: 19 games – 61.75 periods – 1236.51 minutes of hockey

LAK: 21 games – 65 periods – 1300.31 minutes of hockey

Those are some taxing numbers to say the least. So no matter who comes out from the West, they will have already played more hockey then the Rangers, who will be on 6 days rest and healing any nagging injuries.

Both the Hawks and Kings will have 3 days to lick their wounds and prepare for the idle Rangers. Sounds like a lot until you realize, if the Kings win they have to travel on Monday, practice on Tuesday and prepare for a game on Wednesday. Only the Hawks would have a true day off.

PICK YOUR POISON

The LA Kings are battle tested to say the least. If they advance they will have knocked off the SJ Sharks (111 PTS), ANA Ducks (116 PTS) and Blackhawks (107 PTS). No doubt they could be gassed by the Finals.

In contrast the Hawks will have eliminated the STL Blues (111 PTS), MIN Wild (98 PTS) and the Kings (100 PTS). An easier road maybe, but the Wild did give the powerhouse Hawks all they could handle.

The Rangers meanwhile took out the PHI Flyers (94 PTS), PIT Penguins (109 PTS) and MTL Canadiens (100 PTS). So technically, the Rangers have beaten a team in Pittsburgh with more points then either Western opponent.

Also, the Blueshirts beat Chicago twice and split with LA for a 3-1 record during the season. While the Rangers don’t have anyone that even comes close to the scoring likes of the King’s Kopitar (23 PTS) or the Hawks’ Kane (18 PTS), they have the best defense left standing.

The Kings (2.80) and Blackhawks (2.78) trail the Rangers (2.25) in the goals against per game department. It’s worthy to note that the Kings lead all teams with 17 PPG and the Rangers have the best PK left standing.

So now that you have a pre-scouting report and a wealth of knowledge at your finger tips, who do you want the Rangers to face in the Finals? Either way, there is no doubt these Rangers not only have a shot, but a real chance to win it all.

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Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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