The New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings will square off in a seven-game playoff series for the first time when they play Game 1 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday.
Both teams traveled a long and difficult road en route to the Cup Final.
Los Angeles played 21 of a possible 21 games and needed to win three Game 7s on the road to win its third Western Conference title in team history. New York played 20 of a possible 21 games and overcame a 3-1 series deficit against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Round 2.
Check out the defining moments of the Rangers’ and Kings’ playoff runs through three rounds in the videos below.
Kings vs. Sharks
After forcing a Game 7 despite at one point trailing 3-0 in the series, the Kings fell behind 1-0 in the first period when Matt Irwin opened the scoring for San Jose. A little more than four minutes later, Drew Doughty evened the score with a power-play goal. LA scored the next four goals to become the fourth team in league history to overcome a 3-0 deficit and win a series.
Rangers vs. Flyers
The Rangers held a slim 1-0 lead over the Flyers in Game 7 when Benoit Pouliot doubled his team’s advantage with a second-period goal. It ended up being the winning goal as Philadelphia later trimmed the New York lead to 2-1 with a third-period tally from Jason Akeson.
Kings vs. Ducks
The Kings were down 2-1 in the final minute of Game 1 in Anaheim when Marian Gaborik scored with seven seconds left in regulation to force overtime. He also scored the game-winner with 7:53 remaining in the extra period.
Rangers vs. Penguins
Martin St. Louis has played with a heavy heart this postseason. His mother, France St. Louis, passed away unexpectedly at age 63 during Round 2. With his father and sister in attendance for Game 6 on Mother’s Day, St. Louis opened the scoring at Madison Square Garden and helped New York force a Game 7.
Kings vs. Blackhawks
With the Kings trailing the Blackhawks 2-1 in Game 2 at the United Center, Jonathan Quick made a brilliant save to deny Blackhawks D-man Brent Seabrook on a Grade A scoring chance. If Seabrook scores, Chicago likely takes a 2-0 series lead and the chances of a Los Angeles comeback would have been slim.
Rangers vs. Canadiens
Martin St. Louis’ overtime goal in Game 4 gave the Rangers a commanding 3-1 series lead, but it was Henrik Lundqvist’s sensational blocker save that robbed Canadiens winger Thomas Vanek in Game 6 that networks will be replaying for years.