Pregame primer: Rangers face historic climb

Pregame primer: Rangers face historic climb
June 9, 2014, 3:30 pm
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After a pair of overtime thrillers, the 2014 Stanley Cup Final shifts to New York tonight with the L.A. Kings holding a two games to none lead on the Rangers.

Here’s a quick preview:

Gametime/TV: 8 p.m., NBC

Referees: Steve Kozari (#40) and Brad Watson (#23)

Linesmen: Scott Driscoll (#68) and Shane Heyer (#55)

Trending: Dating back to Game 7 of the 2012 playoffs the Rangers have won 15 of their last 23 home playoff games. They have not been swept in 14 consecutive playoff series dating back to 2007.The Kings lead the NHL with seven road victories in these playoffs but are 0-3 all-time at Madison Square Garden in the postseason.

Advantage: Including this year, home teams are 25-9 (.735) in the Stanley Cup Final dating back to 2009.

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Tough row to hoe: Since the NHL went to a best-of-seven format for the Stanley Cup Final in 1939, 43 of the 48 teams that have grabbed 2-0 leads have gone on to claim the Cup. That’s a shade under 90 percent. However, twice in the past five years a team that has lost the first two games on the road has stormed back to win the Cup – the 2009 Penguins over the Red Wings, and the 2011 Bruins over the Canucks. Both series went seven games.

Really?: In each of the past three Stanley Cup Finals, Games 1 and 2 were decided in overtime. It’s been 63 years since the first three games of a series were decided in OT. In 1951 all five games in the Final series between the Maple Leafs and Canadiens went into OT.

Comeback Kings: The Kings are the first team in NHL history to win three straight playoff games in which they trailed by two goals. The Kings last held a lead midway through Game 6 of the Western Conference finals against the Blackhawks.

Iron lungs: Kings defenseman Drew Doughty is averaging 29:49 of ice time over the last three games and led all players with a career-high 41:41 of ice time during Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. By comparison Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh is averaging a team-high 26:02 and logged 37:48 in Saturday night’s loss.

League leaders: While L.A.’s Anze Kopitar leads all playoff performers with 20 assists and 25 points, teammate Marian Gaborik leads all players with 13 goals, Justin Williams has a league-best plus-13, Kings captain Chris Brown  has a league-high 115 hits; and New York’s Dan Girardi has a league-high 57 blocked shots