The year is 2012. The New York Giants steal their second Super Bowl from the New England Patriots (proud moment). The “King,” LeBron James just won his first NBA Title. But over in the City of Angels, someone other than the Lakers was etching their name in Los Angeles history. After a 44 year long wait party, The Los Angeles Kings won their first ever Stanley Cup.
After scraping their way in to the playoffs, the LA kings ended the second longest franchise drought without a Stanley Cup. The Kings must have taken some notes from “King” James because once the playoffs began, this hockey club evolved in to an inexorable force. Since the conference scheme was implemented in ’94, the Kings were first 8 seed to win the Stanley cup. Not only did they win, they did so in convincing fashion.
— #LAKings (@LAKings) April 9, 2017
En route to making history, the LA Kings defeated top seeded Vancouver Canucks in a mere 5 games. Continuing their Cinderella journey, the Kings swept through the semifinals against the St. Louis Blues and advanced to the Stanley Cup finals in five games against the Phoenix Coyotes.
Similar to the NY Giants championship run, being away from home worked in the Kings favor. Outside of the Staples Center, the Kings were 10-1 on the road during the playoffs. During their run, there wasn’t a superstar scoring a bunch of goals and making SportsCenter every other night. Instead, you had a group of guys dedicated to defense and seizing their moment.
“We win with different guys stepping up at different times. That’s what a team is about.”-Dustin Brown, Winger during Championship run
This was the Kings third consecutive appearance in the playoffs and conference finals and its noteworthy how they got there. Ranking 29th in goals per game, the Kings didn’t have a very high powered offense. It was their stingy defense that flustered opponents and propelled them to victory. Ranked 2nd in goals allowed, Kings proved that getting in to the playoffs is half the battle.
“You know, do you want to be a division champion or a Stanley Cup champion? There’s a mentality to that.”- Captain Dustin Brown
Thanks to the valiant efforts of goalkeeper and Con Smythe Recipient Jonathan Quick, The Kings understood strength in numbers. Their style of play emphasized teamwork and playing together when all the chips are on the table. A conference title is irrelevant when I can sip champagne from the Stanley Cup.