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The Final Chapter Of The Rangers Quest For The Cup Kicks Off Tonight

It starts tonight. An improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final by the New York Rangers will come to an end one way or another in the next couple weeks. Every shift, every shot & save, every bounce will mean more than it ever has since, well, you know…

Messier

The bandwagon is full. Suits will be filling MSG at $2k a pop soon while actual fans pack bars & living rooms all over the tri-state area to watch their Blueshirts battle for the greatest trophy in sports. Victoria’s Secret & SI Swimsuit models are ready…

Anne V
KateBock

…and hell, even Canada is on board.

Habs

So what’s in store for Game 1? Well, if what Kings captain Dustin Brown said is true & his squad will show any signs of being “drained” after a series for the ages against the Blackhawks, it’ll be tonight. Similar to how the Rangers thumped the Habs after upsetting Boston in their series opener, they’ll look to take advantage of twice the rest and get the early jump on LA. The Blueshirts are chomping at the bit, and although 5 days removed from action could potentially take a team out of their rhythm, I think it’s ideal for them. Stepan should be much more comfortable with his broken jaw and accompanying astronaut’s helmet while speedsters like Kreider & Hags are refueled to tilt the ice. Bumps & bruises should be all healed up for NY’s optimum effort. For LA, Jonathan Quick got a new bruise of his own after getting rocked up high by a shot in practice yesterday. He says he’s fine…but what’s he supposed to say? We’ll see.

Lundqvist will be 100% tonight. Hank’s ready to take the next step & add a ring to his legacy. He’s put up lights-out numbers all playoffs & stopped 57 of 59 Kings shots during the regular season. One guy who’s not intimidated though is former Ranger Marian Gaborik. Sure, it was 7 years ago, but when you light up a guy for 5 goals in a game I’m pretty sure you’ve staked permanent ownership in his head. He and Kopitar have been great, and it’ll be a tough test for the Stepan line to match. They’ve caught fire themselves though, with Step/Nash/Kreider all burying 3 a piece in the ECF. The big question will be whether or not Brassard’s line will break out of their funk. Pouliot posted a goose egg last round while Zucc hasn’t registered a point in 5 games. The Blueshirts will have to take advantage of any ice time where Kopitar & Doughty are riding pine – these guys should see a lot of it. If they can chip in offensively, look for NY to steal a road game tonight. VIVA LA BLUESHIRTS!

**Check out @CharlieWisco & I talking Stanley Cup on KFC Radio**