Finals sim: Rangers top Blackhawks

Using its simulation engine, EA Sports declared the New York Rangers as its official prediction for Stanley Cup champions. EA has the Blueshirts getting past the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.

For the Rangers, it'd be the fifth Stanley Cup title in franchise history and first since the 1993-94 season. Brad Richards won the Conn Smythe Trophy, the second playoff MVP award of his career. He became the sixth player to win at least two Conn Smythes, joining Patrick Roy (3), Wayne Gretzky (2), Mario Lemieux (2), Bobby Orr (2) and Bernie Parent (2).

Richards-Nash combo proves potent

Richards was dominant throughout the playoffs, leading all scorers with 24 points. His partnership with Rick Nash, who scored a playoff-high 14 goals, powered New York to victory. Not to be overshadowed was the performance of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who went 16-8 with a 1.89 goals-against average, a .917 save percentage and two shutouts.

Blackhawks by far the best in the West

The Blackhawks looked unbeatable in the Western Conference, winning each series in five games before falling to the Rangers in six. The West saw two upsets in the opening round: the seventh-seeded Detroit Red Wings beating the No. 2 Anaheim Ducks, and the No. 5 Los Angeles Kings bouncing the fourth-seeded St. Louis Blues. It looked as though L.A. was on its way to a second straight Cup finals until being dispatched in the West finals by Chicago.

Caps, Pens, Habs? No problem for Blueshirts

In the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Maple Leafs were eliminated in the first round of the simulation, although they extended their Original Six rivals, the Boston Bruins, to seven games. The Pittsburgh Penguins, who made some big moves at the trade deadline and looked to be Cup favorites, fell to the Rangers in seven games in the a conference semifinal. Upsets were rare in the East, but where they did exist, they came courtesy of the Rangers.

The simulation is conducted by using artificial intelligence within NHL 13 that uses real-life data from each player to predict a realistic outcome of each game.