It is going to be difficult for the Stanley Cup Final to outperform the Western Conference Finals. Arguably, the last three games of this matchup between the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks were the best games of this postseason. It was a great series, but somebody had to win. That team? The Los Angeles Kings?
The series started out reasonably enough, but the Kings took a 3-1 series lead and it looked likely they would get their revenge on the Blackhawks for knocking them out last year. Then, the series really picked up. Chicago won two great, exciting games, including an amazing Game 5, leading to Game 7. Once again, the game went into overtime, where Justin Williams, he of the overly romanticized playoff resume, scored the winner, sending the Kings back to the Stanley Cup Final to take on the New York Rangers. (Note: ESPN.com gave the goal to Williams, NHL.com to Alec Martinez. Either way, the Kings won.) It's Los Angeles against New York. Maybe, just maybe, that is going to get some ratings.
This was truly a great series, an exciting contest between two great teams. The Blackhawks' quest to repeat as champs didn't quite work out, but it's not for a lack of trying. Corey Crawford's performance dipped a tinge in this series, but their offense picked up, especially Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp. Both offense were in tip top shape, but the Kings did just a bit more. Anze Kopitar's pace slowed a bit, but Drew Doughty continued his excellent play, Marian Gaborik got his 12th goal of the postseason in Game 7, and Williams did come up big. A team had to win, and that team happened to be the Kings, because they got one more goal in Game 7.
The Kings have the chance to win their second Cup in three seasons. The Rangers have the chance to win their first title since 1994. The Blackhawks? They'll be back next year, and maybe then the bounces will go their way.