The Kings, competing in their 44th NHL season since joining the league in 1967-68, finally captured their first Stanley Cup by defeating the Devils, 6-1, in Game 6 at Staples Center.
For a team that had trouble all season scoring on the power-play, the Kings took advantage of a Devils’ Steve Bernier five-minute major penalty and game misconduct, which led to the Kings scoring three goals in a span of 3:58 in the first period while having a five-on-four man-advantage.
Kings’ Dustin Brown scored twice and Trevor Lewis got the third goal, overwhelming future-Hall-of-Fame Devils’ goaltender Martin Brodeur.
On-ice, after the game, Kings net-minder Jonathon Quick was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy for being the most valuable player to his team in the playoffs. And then NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman presented the coveted Stanley Cup to Captain Dustin Brown who gladly hoisted it high over his head and then gave it a kiss, which is a tradition.
When asked about being in the spotlight now and what it’s going to be like from here on out, a humble Quick said, “I don’t see it changing too much. You still go about your day the same way you always have. It is what it is.
“ I think the attention the team’s going to get is great. That’s something we have been looking for in this market for so long, is to get that attention towards hockey. It’s just an honor to be on this team. I’m glad to be part of it.”
This is also head coach Darryl Sutter’s first Stanley Cup. Hired by the Kings on December 20, he is the fifth head coach to capture the Cup after joining his club during the season. The team went 25-13-11 in the regular season and 16-4 in the playoffs for the new coach.
“It’s pretty awesome. Obviously, when you have a three or four goal lead with five minutes left, you know what these guys are capable of doing,” Sutter said. “Then you start seeing it on the bench. It’s the feeling of seeing them so happy, the work that you go through.
“ The first thing you think about as a coach, these guys are all young enough, they’ve got to try it again (next season).”
Throughout the course of the season, Sutter never wanted to steal the glory from his players. In his mind, the players always come first.
“If you get in, you can win,” is an expression used referring to teams that make it to the playoffs in professional sports. And that’s just what the Kings did.
They barely made it to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference at the end of the regular season and finished 13th in the overall standings, becoming the third club outside the top six in the past four years to win the Stanley Cup.
The Kings also became the second eighth seed to advance to the Final under the current playoff format and the first club to knock off the #1, #2 and #3 seeds in order to get there. And, remarkably, they became the first team to open 3-0 leads in all four of its series.
It’s also a tradition for the players to grow playoff beards, but now, after winning the ultimate prize, they will be shaved off, but the memory will live on and 6-11-12 will now be a banner day in LA.