It's been nearly two decades since the New York Rangers hoisted the Stanley Cup above their heads as NHL champions, but after the most improbable of playoff runs, the upstart team has a chance to once again sit atop hockey's throne. As they get set to square off against the defending champions, the Los Angeles Kings, in one of the most anticipated finals ever, here are five things you need to know:
1. The Best Goalie In The NHL
As the Rangers' stalwart backstop, Henrik Lundqvist has emerged as one of the most beloved athletes in a city full of them. The sophisticated Swede has it all: style, charm, wealth, and the winningest smile in pro sports. Now all he needs is a cold sip from Lord Stanley's mug to complete one of the most storied careers in hockey's history. We're betting he gets it. All hail, King Henrik.
2. Martin St. Louis' Story Will Warm Your Heart
Despite only becoming a Ranger at this year's trade deadline, the gritty Canadian forward is already a fan favorite. After his mother passed away suddenly during the first round of the playoffs, St. Louis decided to play the following night with a heart heavy as a bag of pucks. With his team rallying behind him, St. Louis led an improbable series comeback against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and just like that, a New York Rangers legend was born.
3. The Battle Of The Coasts Will Be Epic
Biggie versus Tupac. In-N-Out versus Shake Shack. Williamsburg versus Silver Lake. As the two biggest cities in America, New York City and L.A. have a historic rivalry, but not since the Dodgers met the Yankees in the 1978 World Series, have their pro sports teams locked horns for a championship. That all changes now. May the best coast win.
4. Celebrities Love The Rangers, & So Should You
The Rangers are the hottest ticket in town, which means notable blue-and-red die-hards like Kate Upton, Liam Neeson, Jimmy Fallon, Tim Robbins, Jon Hamm, Robert De Niro, and Jim Carrey will all be calling Madison Square Garden home for the coming weeks. While the star-studded bandwagon is nearly overflowing, there's still room for one more: YOU.
5. The Stanley Cup Is The Best Trophy In Pro Sports
Every kid who's ever laced up a pair of skates has dreamt about one day lifting the Stanley Cup over their head. It's the oldest, most renowned trophy in professional sports, but it doesn't end there. Winners not only get their names engraved on Lord Stanley, they get to take it home for a day and use it as their own personal play thing. You know what that means: Most. Epic. Pool. Party. Ever.