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Stanley Cup Finals Game 1 Rundown

Finally, the Los Angeles Kings managed to outlast the Chicago Blackhakws and shut down their dream of a repeat. The win has set the stage for the Stanley Cup Finals between the Kings and the New York Rangers.

Most analysts have the Rangers as the underdogs heading into Game 1. The sportsbooks agree, giving the Kings around a -1.5 point spread as the favorites. In fact, the Kings were the favorites to win the whole series in the early future odds.

The Kings are the favorites for a good reason. Before the Blackhawks rampaged through the NHL last season, the Kings did it the season before, winning the Stanley Cup in 2012. Having home ice in Game 1 will also give the Kings a boost.

Despite being the underdogs, do not expect coach Alain Vigneault to deviate from what has been working for the Rangers.

There is no doubt that if the Rangers try to play one-on-one hockey (Kings’ hockey) they will be at a huge disadvantage. But the Rangers do not rely on the one-on-one game.

The Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens were all, on paper, better hockey teams than the Rangers, yet they fell to the team. The reason is because the Rangers use their speed to beat opponents and utilize a group mentality on defense.

It is a difficult strategy to combat when you are simply slower. The Kings prefer to play offense, but with New York’s speed they may get beat to the puck more often than not and end up playing with their backs against their goal.

Los Angles could potentially slow the Kings down with phsycial play, because all it will take is a little hesitation on the Rangers’ part to lose this game.

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals begins Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET. You can watch it on NBC. 

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