It’s the biggest West Coast-East Coast showdown since Biggie and Tupac — and every celebrity who gives a puck is choosing sides.
The hometown Rangers begin a best-of-seven series against the Los Angeles Kings for the Stanley Cup Wednesday night, but the battle for the hearts and helmets of A-listers in both media- and film-centric cities has already been settled.
The Garden faithful features a formidable top line including Robert De Niro, Michael Strahan and Jimmy Fallon, who tweeted after the Blueshirts advanced to the finals, “Tonight we’re gonna party like its 1994!!!” a reference to the last time the Rangers won the greatest trophy in sports.
Other celebs on the Rangers bench include Michael J. Fox, Jim Carrey, Spike Lee, Liam Neeson, Tim Robbins, Louis C.K., Margot Robbie and Olivia Munn.
Yes, L.A. has its bold-faced boosters such as Will Ferrell, Jason Bateman and Kobe Bryant — but some Kings fans haven’t done much of anything since the Rangers last sipped from Lord Stanley’s bowl (we’re looking at you Cuba Gooding Jr., Dennis Miller and Matthew Perry).
But Kings fans — including “Who’s the Boss?” star Alyssa Milano — aren’t backing down.
The Kings, she told the News, are just as important to Los Angeles as the Rangers are to New York.
“Maybe even more so,” she added, though admitted some members of her family bleed Ranger blue.
There are plenty of New Yorkers exiled in Los Angeles — but they’re still proud to yell the traditional “Potvin sucks!” whenever they can.
“Yay,” tweeted supermodel Genevieve Morton, “can’t wait to wear my @NYRangers @TheGarden @MSGSportsNYC. Rangers outfits all over la this week”
The teams themselves have already gotten into the scuffle, albeit good-naturedly. After the Kings won the Western Conference title, the team posted a picture of actor Macaulay Culkin celebrating his freedom in “Home Alone 2” — but the Rangers tweeters were quick to fire back that the subtitle of the 1992 film is “Lost in New York.”
And the Rangers scored a rare coup on Tuesday, getting Triple Crown-hopeful jockey Victor Espinoza to don the NYR sweater despite his L.A. roots — and the fact that he’s riding Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.
Judging on how the Rangers and Canadiens handled themselves on the ice, the finals could be as violent as the last great bicoastal battle between Death Row Records and Bad Boy Records — leaving the flyover zone and even the Great White North with divided loyalties.
Even Tom Hanks — last seen smiling and holding a Ranger towel next to NBC anchorman Brian Williams in a Ranger-issued tweet — balked at backing the Blueshirts.
His publicist told The News that the “Charlie Wilson’s War” star has declined to pick sides in this fight.