by BRIANNA DELUCA Staff Writer
Hockey fans everywhere sat glued to their television sets on Sunday, June 1 to watch game seven of the Western Conference finals.
In order to take home the Stanley Cup, a team needs to make it through four intense rounds of playoff hockey. The first team to win four games in each series moves on, and the other is eliminated.
The New York Rangers had already clinched their spot in the finals on Thursday, May 29. They were named Eastern Conference Champions after beating the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 1-0.
Prior to the Canadiens, the Rangers had also defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the playoffs. The Flyers put up a great fight, but were sent home after seven close games.
During round two, the Rangers found themselves trailing the Penguins in the series three games to one. Just when it looked like the Rangers’ journey to the cup was over, they came back and beat the Penguins in three straight games. This confidence carried over into the third round and helped the Rangers defeat the Canadiens.
With the Western Conference series tied up and the Rangers eager to find out their opponent, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings battled it out for one last time. The winner would go on to face the Rangers in the finals, and the other would go home empty-handed.
The Blackhawks and the Kings each got off to an aggressive start at United Center. By the 15 minute mark, however, the Blackhawks had pulled ahead and scored two impressive goals. Their lead did not last very long, though, as the Kings got even by scoring two goals themselves in under a minute.
The game went back and forth in the second period, one goal after another. The Blackhawks, encouraged by fans, managed to gain a 4-3 lead over the Kings. This time, it looked like they would be able to hold the lead and move on to the finals.
It was not until very late in the third period, with about seven minutes remaining, that the Kings tied up the game once again. Frustrated Blackhawk fans jeered because their team was now headed to overtime.
The sudden death period made for a tense and exciting game. Knowing that a mistake could cost them chances of playing for the cup, each team handled the puck with caution. Six minutes into overtime, Alec Martinez shocked everyone in the arena and scored the game-winning goal for the Kings.
Now with the two finalist teams determined, speculation began on which would become the victor. Because the Rangers have not won a Stanley Cup in 20 years, they were deemed by many as the underdogs. On the other hand, the Kings won their first cup two years ago, and bringing home another seems likely.
All predictions aside, the Kings and Rangers played game one of the finals on Wednesday, June 5. With nearly a week of rest, the Rangers had more time to prepare for the first game than the Kings, who only received two.
The Rangers scored two early goals in the first period. Notorious for making comebacks, the Kings did not give up and tied the score. Once again, the Kings found themselves playing in overtime after evening the score. This time it was Justin Williams who got the job done for the Kings, and they won the first game.
Despite speculations and the result of game one, Ranger fans still believe that their team has a chance.
Freshman Paula Beer said, “The Rangers are said to be the underdog, but I know they will defeat the LA Kings and bring home the Stanley Cup to New York.”
Perhaps their best weapon is all-star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. This post-season, his impressive 12-8 record has enabled the Rangers to make it this far.
“The Rangers will win [the cup] in seven games because of Lundqvist. He was the best goalie in the league this year by far,” said freshman Sid Mamidi.
Who do you think will win the Stanley Cup and how many games will it take?