This first-ever Stanley Cup playoff meeting between the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings is going down to the wire. On Wednesday, May 14, 2014, the Los Angeles Kings staved off elimination by beating the Ducks 2-1 in front of a standing room only crowd of 18,519 at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. The Kings had won the first two games of the series, before losing three straight. Wednesday night, the Ducks could have ended the drama, but it was not to be. The main difference was in goal, where a stellar veteran named Jonathan Quick outplayed a very game rookie named John Gibson. The rookie only gave up one bad goal in the game, but that was all it took. Quick slammed the door on Anaheim, with a great performance which ended with Quick and his teammates withstanding a furious last-minute attack by the Ducks. Perhaps this was also a case of the more desperate team winning. It also could have been the experience factor involved. All that matters now, is that there will be a Game 7 played on Friday night in Anaheim. If the Ducks win, the Chicago Blackhawks will be on a plane to Anaheim. If the Kings win, the Kings will be aboard a Saturday flight to Chicago. However this turns out, the Ducks will not need any immediate travel plans.
Perhaps Anaheim Coach Bruce Boudreau said it best, when asked about winning the upcoming Game 7; "I think what it’s going to take is someone getting a lucky bounce, and holding on to the lead. Like I said, they’re a very good team, and they know how to play with the lead. We are going to need 20 players, playing the best game you can play on both sides. There can be no passengers in the next game." Game 7 is set to become an instant classic.
*The NHL has announced that Game 1 of the Western Conference final will be played on Sunday May 18, whether it begins in Anaheim, or Chicago.
This series is just the latest in a fantastic Stanley Cup playoff year. This is a week which has already featured two Game 7's, and a spectacular Game 6 contest which ended when Patrick Kane worked his playoff magic yet again. The puck-handling wizard's OT goal put the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference final for a second straight season.
Eastern Conference playoff picture - On Tuesday night, the New York Rangers downed Pittsburgh 2-1 in Game 7 to earn a spot in the Eastern Conference final. The Blueshirts probably also ended the Head coaching tenure of Dan Bylsma. Prior to the Kings beating the Ducks in Game 6 on Wednesday night, the Montreal Canadiens defeated the heavily favored Boston Bruins 3-1 in Game 7. It had to be such sweet satisfaction for young Canadiens' defenseman P.K. Subban, who during the series, had become the target of racial slurs from some of the Bruins' more ignorant and mean-spirited fans. Apparently, "Boston strong" means the city deserves unwavering support, no matter what kind of ill-mannered, classless idiots decide to recklessly run their mouthes. Boston has always been a notoriously racist town, despite what those sympathetic to their cause would have you believe. One needs look no further than NBA legend Bill Russell, who said famously, "I don't play for Boston, I play for the Celtics". His motivation for saying what he said, is more than obvious. That said, congratulations are in order for the scrappy bunch from Montreal.
Montreal vs New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference final - Red, white and blue vs Blue, white and red. This is yet another "Original 6" matchup. The 2014 Stanley Cup final will feature either a Montreal team which last won the Cup in 1993, or a New York team which last won the Cup in 1994. The drama continues.