The NHL has to think they are doing something right. For the second straight year, they are going to get a dream scenario for the Stanley Cup final. Last year it was 2 Original 6 teams facing off in the Final, the first time that happened since 1979 when the Montreal Canadiens beat the New York Rangers.
This year, with one game to go before the Rangers’ opponent is determined, there will be either one perfect scenario or another. If the Blackhawks hold serve on home ice to advance, it will be two original 6 teams once again, with the chance for the Hawks to become a dynasty with 3 Cup wins in 4 years, or the Rangers, in the league’s largest market, can win their first championship in 20 years.
If the Kings can manufacture yet another win facing elimination for the 7th time in this playoff season, it will mark the first time that the largest market on the East Coast faces the largest market on the West Coast. It would be Wall Street vs. Hollywood. The stars that would be out for this series would bring much attention to the game that would otherwise not be available. Each city would be trying to one-up the other by having the bigger celebrities in attendance, and with that, more mainstream media attention would be brought to the game. This would only mean good things for the game.
The only problem might be a mis-match. The styles of play in the different conferences is overwhelming, as the Western Conference has been far superior to almost anything the East has put forth, except for the Montreal-Boston series. The Rangers have played a clutch and grab, hooking the length of the ice style, in an effort to slow down their opponents and have relied heavily on Henrik Lundqvist to get this far.
Either way, the NHL will be trumpeting its wares before what should be record TV audiences, and for the good of the game it should be a solid final series on the ice.