No choke and no joke. The Los Angeles Kings are Stanley Cup champions.
In a series that saw four one-goal results and two go overtime, Game 6 was over early as the Kings blasted the New Jersey Devils 6-1. A first period major penalty gave LA a power play advantage for five minutes and the Kings responded with three goals.
It was the first Stanley Cup for the Kings in their 45-year history. Los Angeles last appeared in a Cup final back in 1993 during the Wayne Gretzky era, losing in five games to the Montreal Canadiens.
The Kings won the Cup in front of a raucous Staples Arena crowd of nearly 18,000, but it was on the road that this team will be remembered. LA won its first 10 road games – setting the playoff record for a road winning streak, tying the playoff record for total road victories – and going 16-4 overall.
Plus, the Kings became NHL champions as an eighth seed in the West, by far the lowest to win the Cup. Since the NHL started seeding its conferences one through eight in 1993-94, only one bottom-four seed had ever won it all – the 1995 Devils, a fifth seed in a lockout-shortened season.
Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the series MVP, holding the Devils to two goals or less for the fifth time in the six games.
The Stanley Cup title was bigger than the Miracle on Manchester, when the Kings turned a 5-0 deficit into a 6-5 overtime victory over Gretzky’s 1982 Edmonton Oilers at the Forum on Manchester Blvd. That was just Game 3 of a best-of-5 first-round upset. This run was certainly a bigger triumph than making the ‘93 final; Gretzky’s Kings couldn’t complete their quest.