The Los Angeles Kings were crowned world champions for the second time in three years after a thrilling game five which went into double overtime. The game saw three lead changes. Alec Martinez shot into an open net after a Tyler Toffoli shot rebounded off Hendrick Lundquist with 5:43 left in the second overtime to star the celebration in Tinsel Town.
Justin Williams opened the scoring for LA at the 6:04 mark of the first period giving the Kings a one to nothing lead and beginning what everyone thought would be the beginning of a Stanley Cup celebration. But not so fast. The Rangers who everyone thought was down and out scored a short handed goal at the 15:37 mark of the 2nd period. Chris Kreider tipped in a pass from Dwight King to tie the score. It looked like the boys in blue from Gotham were ready to put LA’s party on hold when Brian Boyle scored at the 19:30 mark on a slap shot assisted by Brad Richards.
LA tied the game at 7:56 mark of the 3rd period on a goal from Marion Gaborik, assisted by Drew Doughter and Chris Carter.
Justin Williams was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Although LA was the far superior team, New York hung around due to the likes of Superman himself goalie Hendrick Lundquist. Lundquist stopped 40 of 43 shots preventing the Kings and Southern California from beginning their celebration a few hours earlier.
In fact the goalie from the Big Apple stopped 40 of 41 shots in game four preventing a clean sweep by the Kings. Had the Rangers somehow were able to extend this series another a game or two, Lundquist would have been the front runner for the Conn Symthe Trophy.
The Kings had an unbelievable run this 2014 Playoff Season. They faced elimination seven times and went 7-0. Down 0-3 to fellow Californians San Jose Sharks, the Kings won four straight to move on to play their southern neighbor Anaheim Ducks. Down three games to two to the Ducks, the Kings won two straight sending them to the conference finals against last year’s champs Chicago Blackhawks. They beat the Blackhawks in OT in game seven in Chicago.
The New Yorkers forced overtime in games one, two and four, and only lost convincingly in game three. This was the best five game series since the LA Kings fell to the Montreal Canadians in 1993 4-1 after losing three OT games
Since 1980, there have been five Stanley Cup Championships clinched in OT. The New York Islanders won their first cup on Memorial Day Weekend 1980 in game six when Bob Nystrom tipped in a pass from John Tomelli. In 1996 the Colorado Avalanche won game four during a multiple OT game in Florida to sweep the Panthers. In 1999 Brent Hull scored a controversial goal to lift the Dallas Stars over the Buffalo Sabres in six. A year later the New Jersey Devils beat the Dallas Stars in Dallas on a game six overtime game to clinch the cup. The Chicago Blackhawks got a Patrick Kane overtime goal in game six of the finals to clinch the cup in Philadelphia. Last night’s overtime goal was the first cup clinching goal at home since the one on Long Island in 1980.
The NHL had to be excited this playoff season which started on April 16th. There were a Stanley Cup Playoff record 94 games played with 24 overtime games. According to this week’s addition of Sports Illustrated: 4.8 million people viewed game one of the finals, the second most for a cup opener. Also 5.66 goals were averaged in the Stanley Cup playoffs, which was an increase of .64 over the 2013 post season.
I was fortunate enough to see 75 of the 94 games-80% Out of the 15 series played: I went 11-4.
By the way for all you hockey addicts not ready to give up the stuff: The AHL Calder Cup Finals between the Texas Stars and the St. John IceCaps is being aired on the NHL Network. Texas is up 2-1. Here’s the rest of the schedule:
Game Four 6pm Monday, June 16th
Game Five 6pm Tuesday, June 17th
Game Six 8:30 Thursday, June 19
Game Seven 8:30 Monday, June 23