Rangers-Kings — rare NY-LA title matchup

Tommy Lasorda and the Dodgers celebrate their 1981 World Series win over the Yankees.

No doubt NBA is loving this Stanley Cup Final. Rangers-Kings represents the nation’s two largest markets, New York and Los Angele. That’s gotta be good for ratings, a perennial problem for the NHL.

The last time the two biggest American cities met for a championship in any of the four major North American team sports was nearly 33 years ago, when the Dodgers beat the Yankees in six games to win the World Series.

The Rangers and the Kings have met twice in their playoff history, neither time for a Stanley Cup, back in the day when the NHL had preliminary round playoff matches, not conference matchups. The Rangers beat LA in two games in 1979 and advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost to the Canadiens.

Two years later, in 1981, the Rangers beat the Kings 3-1, and eventually lost to the New York Islanders in the semifinals.

Other NY-LA championship matchups

BASEBALL: The Yankees have faced the Los Angeles Dodgers four times in the World Series and split those meetings. The Dodgers swept the Yankees in 1963 and won in 1981, and the Yankees won back-to-back World Series in 1977 and 1978. The Yankees and Angels have met several times in the American League playoffs, most recently in the 2009 ALCS.

BASKETBALL: The Knicks and the Lakers squared off three times in four NBA Finals between 1970 and 1973. New York won its’ only two titles in 1970 and 1973. The Lakers beat the Knicks in 1972, one of many championships for the Lakers but their first in Los Angeles (they started out as the Minneapolis Lakers.)

FOOTBALL: Los Angeles no longer has an NFL team. The Giants and Rams split two playoff meetings in the 1980s, though neither was a Super Bowl.

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