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    Rangers set to take aim at Kings

    Henrik Lundqvist will be the target of the Kings when the Cup Final begins Wednesday.
    Henrik Lundqvist will be the target of the Kings when the Cup Final begins Wednesday.

    GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Henrik Lundqvist had his game-day face on at practice.

    He still smiled and answered all the questions thrown at him Monday about the Los Angeles Kings — the New York Rangers’ long-awaited opponent in the Stanley Cup Final.

    ‘‘Exciting. Long flight,’’ the star goalie said Monday before he and his teammates headed to California for New York’s first appearance in the finals since winning the title in 1994. ‘‘East Coast-West Coast. I'll look forward to this matchup.’’


    The Rangers have been waiting since Thursday to find out who they would face Wednesday — the 2012 Stanley Cup-winning Kings or the defending champ Blackhawks.

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    They took two days off before returning to practice Sunday. Most of the players said they watched at least part of Los Angeles’s win — their third Game 7 on the road.

    The Kings returned to Los Angeles after their 5-4 come-from-behind overtime win at Chicago and took Monday off. They have played a record 21 playoff games before the finals — one more than the Rangers, who eliminated the Montreal Canadiens in six games during the Eastern Conference finals.

    Alec Martinez scored at 5:47 of overtime as Los Angeles improved to 7-0 in elimination games this year.

    Martinez’s shot went off Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy and fluttered past goalie Corey Crawford, stunning the sold-out crowd at the United Center and leading to a wild on-ice celebration for Los Angeles. Leddy and Crawford were hunched over as the Kings gathered in a big huddle along the boards.


    ‘‘I didn’t really see it go in,’’ Martinez said. ‘‘I know it went off a couple bodies. I just tried to get it through and fortunately it went in.’’

    Patrick Sharp scored twice for the Blackhawks, who blew a 2-0 lead. Brandon Saad had a goal and an assist, and Patrick Kane had two assists.

    Chicago’s loss means Detroit remains the last NHL team to win consecutive titles, accomplishing the feat in 1997 and 1998.

    ‘‘I've lost some tough games but nothing like tonight,’’ Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.

    Tyler Toffoli also had a goal and an assist for the Kings, who once held a 3-1 lead in the series, only to have the Blackhawks come back to force Game 7. Jeff Carter scored his ninth playoff goal in the first, and Marian Gaborik had the tying goal midway through the third period. The Kings also got 37 saves from Jonathan Quick.


    ‘‘New York’s an awesome team,’’ Quick said. “They beat great teams, so they’re battle-tested, as well, so we've got a lot to get ready for.’’