Only once in the last three decades has there been a Stanley Cup champion from the state of New York. In 1994, Mark Messier and Brian Leetch led the New York Rangers to the seven-game series victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Martin St. Louis and Henrik Lundqvist have been the main men in the Rangers’ Cup run this time around.
Lundqvist was the team’s most valuable player in Game 6 at Madison Square Garden. He led the Rangers to victory with his first shutout since March. Although the Rangers did not score a power-play goal in that contest, they killed both of their penalties. After having a suspect penalty kill in the first round, New York has been terrific since: the team has killed 40 of their 43 penalties in the last two rounds.
Alain Vigneault, who vastly improved the team’s penalty kill this past season, has shown off his postseason experience in his first year as the Rangers’ head coach. He made it to the playoffs in each of his final five seasons with the Canucks, but his tenure with them ended after being swept in the 2013 first round. His other appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals came in 2011 when his Vancouver team held a 3-2 lead, but lost Game 6 and Game 7. New York fans hope that history does not repeat itself for the veteran coach.