Pre-game primer: Will Kings be crowned at home?

Pre-game primer: Will Kings be crowned at home?
June 13, 2014, 3:45 pm
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News and notes as the Los Angeles Kings look to finish off the New York Rangers tonight in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center [8 p.m., NBC]:

Magic numbers: Despite outshooting the Rangers 41-19 in Game 4, the Kings fell by a 2-1 score Wednesday night. It marked the first time the Kings failed to score at least three goals in a game since May 18 in their series opener of the Western Conference Final.

Mirror images: The Kings must be having some déjà vu in this Final. Two years ago against the Devils they also won the first two games in overtime, recorded a shutout in Game 3 and lost Game 4. In 2012, the Kings also lost Game 5 in New Jersey before returning home to clinch in Game 6 in L.A.

Home-ice advantage: Since clinching their first Stanley Cup on June 11, 2012, the Kings have won 16 of their last 21 home playoff games, including five of their past six.

No rest for the weary: This will be the Kings’ 26th playoff game, matching a single-year NHL record set by the 1987 Flyers and matched by the 2004 Flames. No team in NHL history has played this many games and won a Stanley Cup.

Tough opponent: The Rangers are 5-0 when facing elimination this spring and 11-2 in their last 13 postseason games when facing win-or-go-home scenarios. Henrik Lundqvist has started all 13 of those games, posting a 1.30 GAA and .959 save percentage with two shutouts.

How Swede it was: With Wednesday night’s win, Lundqvist became the second Swedish-born goaltender to earn a victory in the Stanley Cup Final, joining the late Pelle Lindbergh, who in 1985 led the Flyers to a five-game loss to Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers.

Place your bets: Teams leading the Stanley Cup Final 3-0 have won the series 25 of 26 times [96.2 percent] since the NHL implemented the best-of-seven format in 1939. The only club to overcome a 3-0 series deficit to win the Stanley Cup was the 1942 Maple Leafs over the Red Wings.

Closing the door: The Kings are 9-1 when leading after two periods in the playoffs; the Rangers are 11-1. The Kings have outscored their opponents 33-18 in third periods and overtimes in the post-season and their 29 third-period goals are the most in the playoffs, nine more than the Blackhawks.

Conversely …: The Rangers have outscored their opponents 26-12 in the first period during the playoffs, including a 5-2 advantage over the Kings. The Rangers are 11-5 when scoring first in the post-season. The Kings are 9-2 when scoring first.

Who’s hot for the Kings: Kings captain Dustin Brown has four goals and four assists in his past eight games. Teammate Justin Williams leads all players with six points in the Final [1 goal, 5 assists] and could be the leading candidate as playoff MVP. Jeff Carter is tied with Williams for second in postseason scoring with 24 points, while Anze Kopitar leads all players with 21 assists and 26 points.

Who’s hot for the Rangers:  Derick Brassard and Ryan McDonagh each have three points in the Final. Benoit Pouliot and Martin St. Louis each have two goals. McDonagh, who turns 25 today, has recorded at least one point in seven of the last 10 games [3 goals, 10 assists], while Rangers forward Derek Stepan has at least one point in eight of his last 11 games [3-8-11]. St. Louis leads the Rangers with eight goals and is tied for second on the team with 15 points.

Clinching at home: Teams with a chance to win the Stanley Cup on home ice are 41-20 (.672) since the best-of-seven format was introduced in 1939, but just 7-8 (.467) since 2000.

Strong finish for NBCSN: With 3.383 million average viewers for Game 4 of the Final, the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs rank as the most-watched on cable in 17 years. For the 77 games telecast on NBCSN and CNBC, the 2014 playoffs averaged 1.098 million viewers [and a 0.66 household rating], ranking as the most-watched NHL postseason on cable since 1997 [1.211 million viewers on ESPN/ESPN2].

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