Kings Win Stanley Cup At Home
By Steven Lieberman
No team in the history of the National Hockey League (NHL) has ever won the Stanley Cup by winning three seventh games on the road in the first three playoff series leading up to the finals, but the Los Angeles Kings did just that, and then beat the New York Rangers, four games to one, to then hoist the prized trophy at Staples Center.
And the Kings completed their run for the Cup on Friday, the 13th, which proved to be their “lucky” day. And the fans felt lucky too. They got what they wished for – the Kings winning the Cup on home ice.
After disposing of the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks in the first two rounds, the Kings had their toughest battle in the Western Conference Finals versus the Chicago Blackhawks. Evidently, they had enough left in the tank to handle the Rangers.
Both net-minders, Jonathan Quick for the Kings and Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers, could easily have been awarded the MVP for game 5, but the Conn Smythe Trophy was awarded to Kings forward Justin Williams for being the best player in the playoffs. That was a tough choice because there were many Kings players that could have been presented that trophy.
One of the obvious choices being young defenseman Alec Martinez. Coach Darryl Sutter seemed to have him out on the ice at the most crucial, important moments. And for that, he thanked Sutter by delivering the game-winning goal on a rebound 14:43 into the second overtime.
“I just saw that there was a loose puck in my own end and I just tried to get it into a forwards hands,” Martinez said. “(Tyler) Toffoli (another young player) had a great shot far-pad and, fortunately, the rebound came to me and I was able to put it in.”
Sutter commented at the Stanley Cup Media Day how “everybody’s been good.” And he was right. The Kings had great depth this season -- from their veterans to their young players. It was remarkable how there was no weak-link, and that can be a credit to Kings GM Dean Lombardi, the architect who put this team together.
Now they’ve won two Stanley Cups in the past three seasons. And the future is looking bright for the Kings. The young players will improve and the veterans will continue to lead the way.