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|Kings crowned as NHL royalty|
|Written by Andrew Knoll|
|Tuesday, 12 June 2012 04:20|
The Los Angeles Kings have completed their unlikely road to the Stanley Cup. Having beaten the first, second and third-seeded teams in the West, the Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils 6-1 on Monday to win the franchise's first Stanley Cup.LOS ANGELES – Forty-five years into their existence, the Los Angeles Kings have finally earned their coronation as NHL royalty.
They beat the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final before 18.858 fans at Staples Center on Monday.
Captain Dustin Brown broke out with a three-point game alongside Anze Kopitar, the two longest-tenured players for a franchise looking to erase the past and gain momentum from their Cup victory.
“It’s relief, it’s excitement, I don’t know how to put it in words really,” Kopitar said. “For us being here together and doing it together, in the fashion that we did it, it’s unbelievable.”
This “fashion” saw them win an NHL-record 10 straight road games, roll through the playoffs at 16-4 and, oh yeah, become the first bottom seed to capture the Cup.
The win even captured the attention of the fickle fans accustomed to perennial contention from the Lakers and a bevy of entertainment options.
“I think we made it hockeytown, it’s a great feeling to do it in front of this home crowd and I hope that it causes some more little kids to play hockey,” defenseman Drew Doughty said.
Jonathan Quick captured the Conn Smythe Trophy but did not get a whole lot of work Monday. He stopped 17 of 18 shots and was able to hit cruise control after his club exploded for three power-play goals during a single major penalty in the first period.
Rob Scuderi was boarded by Steve Bernier, earning him a game misconduct and a major. Scuderi left the ice bleeding but returned. While he was in the dressing room, Brown scored a goal, created another for Jeff Carter and Trevor Lewis capped off the incredible run.
The Kings power play entered the game ranked 14th among playoff teams and Lewis, who added a second goal late, had scored just three goals during the regular-season.
Lewis was described by rookie Dwight King as a “heart-and-soul guy.” Matt Greene, a grit-and-guts guy, also added a goal.
Carter added a second goal 90 seconds into the second period. His linemate Mike Richards had two assists, as the Kings’ big trades paid major dividends.
Richards and Carter skated over to one another immediately after the final horn to share a moment between best friends.
“I can’t tell ya what we said, (the press) would have too much fun with them,” Carter joked. “The team showed a lot of faith in me, a lot of people doubted me, a lot of people doubted us and we proved them wrong.”
The Devils, who seemed composed and unflappable in the series, particularly in their two wins, came unglued Monday. Bernier was the first of three players to be sent off with misconducts. His linemate Ryan Carter joined him in the dressing room, as did David Clarkson, each in separate incidents.
Stephen Gionta left the game after taking a puck to the face, leaving the Devils with an ECHL-esque 15-skater bench.
Adam Henrique scored the Devils’ lone goal, his fifth and least meaningful tally of the playoffs.
For the Kings, it ended the suffering of longtime fans and gained recognition for some of the finest people in the hockey business away from the ice. Hall of Fame beat writer Helene Elliot finally saw the club hoist the Cup. Bob Miller and Jim Fox, the longest-tenured tandem in an NHL broadcast booth, were on hand to witness the event. Luc Robitaille, a long-time King now in the front office, beamed as he spoke of the boost to the franchise.
Above all, the fans, who rocked Staples Center as it had never rocked before for Shaq, Kobe, Vicente or any other L.A. entertainment icons, finally got their day on the throne.
“Here we are, look around, this is what we wanted,” said Justin Williams, the third top-line forward who won his second Stanley Cup. “This is what this city’s wanted and it makes it extra special that everyone around us is just as happy as we are.”
Photos by Getty Images
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 June 2012 18:03|