The Stanley Cup will be in the house Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
It will be polished and ready to hand over to the Los Angeles Kings by commissioner Gary Bettman if the club is able to send the New York Rangers packing in front of their hometown faithful.
It took the Kings 14 games in these playoffs to get out of the Golden State by knocking off the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks. Then, Los Angeles got by the Chicago Blackhawks in seven.
Now, three games into the Stanley Cup final, the Kings are one win away from a sweep against the best team to come out of the East.
The Kings have gotten here the hard way, but the club is making it look awfully easy vs. New York.
You wonder if they get enough respect.
As they head into Game 4 against the Rangers, the Kings are a win away from their second NHL title in three years and the Hawks are regarded as a powerhouse?
These Kings aren’t just good, they are great. What makes them so special?
“Well, we can start with (Jonathan) Quick, one of the best goaltenders in the world, and Drew (Doughty), one of the best defencemen in the world,” Kings’ centre Mike Richards told reporters after the club’s 3-0 shutout in Game 3.
“Then you go to centres and have (Anze) Kopitar, one of the best centers in the world. That’s a pretty good start, I think.”â
The Kings have all the right ingredients to win the title. They were heavily favoured coming into this final — so this 3-0 lead shouldn’t be any major surprise — but L.A. has lived up to expecations.
The Kings swear they are taking nothing for granted. They got out to a 3-0 lead againt the New Jersey Devils in the final in 2012 and weren’t able to close out the series until they won in Game 6.
The Kings know where the Rangers are coming from. Los Angeles was in the same situation down 3-0 to the Sharks in Round 1 and then rallied to get a Game 7 victory to advance against Anaheim.
“Hell, we got thrown under the bus by everybody on earth seven weeks ago,” Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said.
Yeah, well the Kings are about to run roughshod over the Rangers but they won’t take anything for granted.
“We know it’s possible (to comeback),” Richards said. “The last game’s always the hardest. No matter what series or what the series is at, it’s always the hardest to (win).
“We played a good game. We’re going to have to play a better game if we’re going to want to have success.”
All that’s left for the Rangers now is to dig deep. Mind you, the hole they are in at the moment is pretty big.
Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, trying to win his first Cup of his career, is having a tough time swallowing the predicament the club is face.
“I am just extremely disappointed that we are in this hole. We have been talking about it after every game that we played really well but in the end it’s about finding ways to win,” Lundqvist said.
“It’s not about playing great, it’s about winning. We have to regroup. It’s not over. We are looking at getting the next game, that’s all we think about right now is that win. In a game like this every little play matters and it feels like they had the luck so far in these three games where it feels like the game has been pretty even, but they have been finding ways to get the big goals at the right times. It’s something we just have to accept and try to be a little better next game.“
A little means a lot in the Cup final and the Kings have sent a message they’d like to be crowned champs again.