The Rangers did not learn on Friday which team they will face in the Stanley Cup final, and that was fine with the Rangers.
The Los Angeles Kings had a chance to close out the defending Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6 of the Western Conference final Friday, but the Blackhawks — who trailed the series 3-1 and fell behind 3-2 in the third period — forced a Game 7 in Chicago on Sunday with a 4-3 win at Staples Center.
The Rangers, by the way, became the first team in Cup history to play two seven-game series in the first two rounds and reach the Cup final. The Kings now have a chance to become the first team to play three seven-game series and get to the final.
The Rangers have played the Kings twice in the playoffs, winning preliminary series in 1979 (en route to the Cup final) and in 1981, a series that included a wild bench-clearing brawl. Click here to see that video, described by Jim Gordon and Bill “Big Whistle” Chadwick.
The Rangers have not played the Blackhawks in the playoffs since the 1973 semifinals. They have met five times, Chicago winning four of those series (1931, 1968, 1971 — the famous Pete Stemkowski triple-OT series — and 1973), the Rangers winning one (1972).
The Rangers were off on Friday, after disposing of the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final Thursday at the Garden. They will also be off Saturday and regroup on Sunday for practice in preparation for the final. They will open on the road, in either Chicago or LA, Wednesday and Saturday, before returning home for Games 3 and 4 Monday and Wednesday.
Limited tickets go on sale Monday at noon via Ticketmaster and newyorkrangers.com.
Photo by Getty Images.