Los Angeles Kings win Stanley Cup

A week before the end of the regular season, the Los Angeles Kings were not even sure they would make the playoffs. Last night, Kings captain Dustin Brown hoisted the Stanley Cup in front of his home crowd in LA for the first time in franchise history.

“They’ve been waiting longer than I have, this city,” Brown said. “You dream of winning the Cup, and you know what, I’m glad I was the first King to ever lift it.”

With their victory last night over the New Jersey Devils in six games, the Kings also become the first eighth seed to ever win the Stanley Cup. The Kings knocked off the Vancouver Canucks in the opening round, the St. Louis Blues in the second round and the Phoenix Coyotes in the Western Conference Finals.

“We just did it for real, baby. This is awesome,” said defenseman Willie Mitchell, the oldest Kings player at 35. “It has been a good journey. We faced a lot of adversity this year, but we found a way to dig ourselves out the hole and get to this point. It is pretty unique.”

The series was nearly over before it even began as the Kings took a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Devils, winning twice on the road to open the series and once at home. New Jersey fought back and won Game 4 at the Staples Center in LA and then won again during Game 5 in New Jersey, handing the Kings their only loss on the road throughout the entire playoffs.

However, the Devils put themselves in an a hole early in Game 6 when the Kings scored three goals during a five-minute power play after Devils forward Steve Bernier was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for a hit-from-behind on Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi.

The Kings’ power play picked the right time to come alive, scoring three goals during the five-minute power play. The Kings had previously gone 9-for-85 with the man advantage during the playoffs, a meager 10.6 percent conversion rate and one of the worst of any postseason team going into Game 6.

“It was huge,” center Anze Kopitar said of the three-goal outburst. “The way the game started for us was unbelievable.”

Captain Dustin Brown started the scoring for the Kings with a tip-in, and Jeff Carter and Trevor Lewis also added tallies. Both Carter and Lewis added another goal each while Brown finished the game with three points.

“[Brown] is our leader and our captain,” said Kopitar. “You can’t ask for more than he brought tonight.”

Before commissioner Gary Bettman awarded the Stanley Cup to Brown, he first awarded the Conn Smyth Trophy to Kings goalie Jonathan Quick as the playoff MVP. Quick led the playoffs in all of the major goalie stat categories with a 1.41 goals against average, a .946 save percentage and three shutouts (tying Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers).

“He’s been our most consistent player all year,” forward Mike Richards said of Quick. “Really the big reason why we made the playoffs is because he was so consistent, played the same way every night.”

The Kings also received solid production from Kopitar, who emerged as an elite forward during the playoffs after several seasons of flying under the radar. Kopitar posted eight goals and 12 assists and tied Brown for the team lead in points.

“This is unreal. Every single emotion in me is coming out,” Kopitar said. “The biggest thing has been the belief inside the locker room. We had 25 guys believing in one thing. I can’t be more proud of the guys.”

The Kings will celebrate their victory with fans on Thursday during a parade and rally at the Staples Center. The parade will begin at noon PT and end at the Staples Center with a special “Championship Rally” inside the building. Tickets to the rally are free, although priority will be given to season ticket holders.

In case you missed the wanaing minutes of the game last night, check out the clip below of Gary Bettman awarding the Stanley Cup to Kings captain Dustin Brown:

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