The NHL technically won't get the dream matchup of New York-Los Angeles in the Stanley Cup Final, but New Jersey is still close enough. OK, obviously there are clear differences between the two states -- refer to "The Sopranos" if you need a reminder -- but if the Giants and Jets can make their home in Jersey, it's good enough for us to declare the upcoming Devils-Kings series to be the 10th NY-LA championship clash. Here are the previous nine:
Yankees 4, Dodgers 2.
MVP: Reggie Jackson.
Key stat: Jackson hit three home runs on consecutive pitches in Game 6 to clinch the series.
Fun fact: This was the first title under George Steinbrenner's ownership, and the only World Series championship that Billy Martin won as a manager.
Dodgers 4, Yankees 2.
MVP: Pedro Guerrero, Steve Yeager, Ron Cey.
Key stat: Yankees reliever George Frazier took the loss in three games, including the series finale.
Fun fact: Steinbrenner broke his hand during the series. He claimed he punched out two Dodger fans in a hotel elevator.
Knicks 4, Lakers 3.
MVP: Willis Reed.
Key stat: Although Reed's inspiring return from injury in Game 7 is one of sports' greatest legends, Walt Frazier's performance that night was a classic: 36 points, 19 assists and five steals.
Fun fact: Howard Cosell, working the postgame interviews for ABC, tells Reed: "You offer the best that the human spirit can offer."
Knicks 4, Lakers 1.
MVP: Willis Reed.
Key stat: Future U.S. Senator Bill Bradley was the Knicks' leading scorer in the series with an 18.6 average.
Fun fact: Each team had a bench player who became a multiple NBA champion as a coach -- Phil Jackson on the Knicks and Pat Riley on the Lakers.
Devils 4, Mighty Ducks 3.
MVP: Jean-Sebastien Giguere. It was the first time since 1987 with Ron Hextall that the Conn Smythe Trophy went to a member of the runner-up.
Key stat: Martin Brodeur recorded three shutouts in the series, including Game 7.
Fun fact: It was a battle of brothers with Devils defenseman Scott Niedermayer and Anaheim center Rob Niedermayer.
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