The NHL will get two of the biggest media markets in the country in the Stanley Cup Final after the Los Angeles Kings knocked off the Chicago Blackhawks, 5-4, in overtime on Sunday night in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final.
The Kings came back from down 2-0 in the first period and 4-3 heading into the third to pull through and make their second Stanley Cup Final in three years.
So far this postseason, home-ice advantage has had little effect on either team. As much as the players want to praise the atmospheres of their home arenas, that has had little bearing on how the series have unfolded:
The Rangers lost once to the Philadelphia Flyers, twice to the Pittsburgh Penguins and once to the Montreal Canadiens in Madison Square Garden.
Inside the Staples Center, Los Angeles dropped one game to the San Jose Sharks, two to the Anaheim Ducks and what could’ve been a decisive Game 6 to the Blackhawks.
In addition, both teams have shown they can enter hostile territory in massive situations and walk away with a win. How many people thought L.A. could go into the United Center and knock off the defending Stanley Cup champions?
Since the Kings have home-ice advantage for the Stanley Cup Final, you’d think they have the edge. In truth, though, it probably will play a small role in how the series unfolds.
Hot goaltenders can often decide series. Tim Thomas and Quick both won the Conn Smythe Trophy en route to a Stanley Cup title. Look how far the Ducks went in 2003 with Jean-Sebastien Giguere. Lundqvist could add his name to that exclusive list.
On the other side, Quick has proven his worth before at this stage in the season, but his more recent performances suggest a kind of shakiness that could doom the Kings.