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The Cup Final That History Was Against

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A few facts that will now be forever absent from NBC analysts' sleeves thanks to the Kings and Rangers defying yesteryear's numbers.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

It's pretty remarkable, come to think of it. There will be tens of thousands of fans lining up in their respective fanbases yelling about how Gary Bettman wanted this particular final to happen.

In all honesty, it might be the best thing for the game of hockey.

The country's two largest media hotbeds will go head to head in the battle of hockey versus every other sport. It's a case of "everyone wins," unless you're a fan of the New Jersey Devils.

Back in 2012, the then-Tortorella coached Rangers were the number one seed heading into the quest for Lord Stanley's Cup. This was a team that had Marian Gaborik, Ruslan Fedotenko, Ryan Callahan, Artem Anisimov, and Brandon Dubinsky playing on it, and it was unquestionably one of the greatest teams in recent history for the Rangers. They had a monkey on their backs, however, and that was the impetus-lacking offense and lack of ability to close out opponents.

The rule was simple: the team that scored four goals on Henrik Lundqvist would win the game. The suffocating shot-blocking as well as grinding that had made the Rangers the NHL's second best team by points simply and ineffectively wore the them down, and the Devils were able to out-coach that style come the conference final. They would lose to the Kings in six games, arguably the most forgettable Cup Final in the last twenty years.

However, there's a point to all of this. The Rangers' style led to two game sevens in the first two rounds, winning both at home against the Capitals and the Senators. They had their fish on a hook and let it go each time. When it came time to forcing the Devils to another game seven at Madison Square Garden, Adam Henrique happened.

With that goal only 63 seconds into overtime, the fact that was consistently mentioned by the media during that conference final continued to stand strong: no team in the history of the NHL that had played in fourteen games prior to the conference final went on to advance to the Stanley Cup Final. This season, thanks to Alain Vigneault's more progressive style of coaching (and some pretty lucky match-ups and opposition injuries along the way), the Rangers defied the impossible and played a full 20 games before clinching a Final berth.

As for the Kings, oh those amazingly dominant yet almost-humiliated-by-the-perennial-playoff-chokers Kings. They not only were one of the rare teams to come back from a 3-0 series deficit in NHL history, but also the first team to win three game sevens on the road in the playoffs. Not only that, but the Kings played a full 21 games before clinching their third berth in franchise history, becoming the second team to win two seven-game series and advance to the Cup Final.

While this is all remarkable enough, both of these teams have abolished yet another bullet point from the past: no team to play in 18 games before the Cup Final had gone on to win it all. This year, a combined 41 games played between the two teams, the highest in NHL history, is what will be featured in June Hockey.

That's a lot to chew on.

Perhaps the greatest historical feat that Los Angeles has overcome, however, is Jonathan Quick's .908 save percentage in the playoffs so far. It's his worst in the last three seasons and the worst among goalies to make it to the finals since 2009.

See you in a few days, everyone.