The Kings won the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Finals in a commanding fashion, beating the New Jersey Devila 6-1 at the Staples Centre tonight. They capitalized early, scoring 3 goals on a 5-minute powerplay in the first period and never looked back as they capped a made-in-Hollywood playoffs by raising Lord Stanley’s cup in front of their fans.
After going on a remarkable run to close out the regular season, LA squeaked into 8th place in the playoffs thanks to some trade-deadline moves and the addition of former Calgary Flames coach, Darryl Sutter. They entered the playoffs with a stacked team and ended up going 16-4 to become the first-ever 8th place team to win the Cup.
The Kings peaked at just the right time and rolled over the top 3 seeds in the Western Conference in 5, 4 and 5 games respectively. They won the first 3 games of the Stanley Cup Finals, and just when the Kings seemed certain to sweep the final series, New Jersey fought back thanks to their veteran goaltender, Martin Brodeur, who stoned the Kings in games 4 and 5. Brodeur showed why he’s one of the best goalies of all time, allowing only one goal in each game, and giving his team a real chance to make a historic comeback.
But the writing was on the wall, and it only seemed like a matter of time until LA would win the 4th game to clinch the Cup.
On their way to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, the Kings relied heavily on their goaltender, Jonathan Quick, who was sensational throughout the playoffs. Quick finished the playoffs with a 1.41 GAA and a 0.946 save percentage and was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy.
The keys to the Kings post-season success were good coaching and balanced contributions from all 4 lines. They had a plan and they executed on it. Their top 6 guys scored when necessary, and their 3rd and 4th lines picked up the slack when they needed to. Plus, they had a ridiculously good goaltender.
The end result was something that may only happen once in a lifetime: Darryl Sutter smiled. I guess raising the Stanley Cup will do that to a guy though…