The LA Kings Journey To The Stanley Cup: The Final Vs New York Rangers


Tonight the Los Angeles Kings will raise their 2014 Stanley Cup Championship banner at Staples Center. But before that happens, let us relive the fourth part of their journey to the Stanley Cup Final. In the last of a four part series, we look at the last hurdle the Kings had to face before raising the Stanley Cup, taking on the Eastern Conference Champion New York Rangers.

The Los Angeles Kings had just won their third Game 7 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs as they took out the team that ended their title defense one year earlier, the Chicago Blackhawks. It had been a long road back to the promise land since the the Kings won their first NHL championship in their history. The Kings came back from being three games down to beat the San Jose Sharks in the first round. After that, they took out their southland rivals the Anaheim Ducks in their first ever playoff match-up. In seven heart-pounding games, the Kings then took out the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks. It was brilliant, but it was not over.

The Stanley Cup Final Vs The New York Rangers

Game 1, June 4

Rangers 2 at Kings 3 (OT) – Kings lead series 1-0

For the first time in these playoffs, the Kings were starting a series at home. Finally, Los Angeles were facing a team that had a worse record than they did, but the Rangers were no pushovers.

In Game 1, New York had scored first and second with goals from Benoit Pouliot and Carl Hagelin (who got one short-handed), putting the Kings’ back up against the wall early. Luckily, an unlikely source had struck back for the Kings towards the end of the first period as Kyle Clifford got his first goal of the playoffs to make it 2-1. In the second period, the Kings were able to tie it when Drew Doughty had some elusive moves to go around the NY defenders and net the puck. In the third period, neither team was able to score, but the Kings had clearly taken control. They out shot the Rangers 20-3 and had several chances to go ahead, but as it was, this was going to overtime.

Los Angeles only needed four minutes to score the sudden-death winner when “Mr. Game 7” turned into “Mr. Game 1” as

Justin Williams

took the first contest in the series for LA. Williams had received the puck from

Mike Richards

on a broken turnover rush that New York could not clear. Williams, all alone and 1-on-1 with Ranger’s goalie

Henrik Hundqvist

, sent a quick wrister top-shelf for the Game 1 winner.

Game 2, June 7

Rangers 4 at Kings 5 (2OT) – Kings lead series 2-0

The one good thing about the Los Angeles Kings is that even though they may start slow, they end strong. Game 1 was a testament to that and the Kings would find out that it would happen again in Game 2. The Rangers once again jumped out to a 2-0 lead which possibly led to LA-area heart attacks.

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  • Ryan McDonagh caught the puck near the blue line and fired in a shot through traffic that some how made its way into the net. On the next goal, Mats Zuccarello was streaking toward the net and caught a rebound off of Jonathan Quick to put the puck into a wide open goal. The Kings did not have to wait long to put their mark on the game as Jarret Stoll scored with just under two minutes into the second period. New York then capitalized on a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty as Martin St. Louis added a power play goal to make it 3-1. A minute and some change later, Zuccarello tripped up Dustin Brown, getting two minutes in the box himself and would’t you know it, LA scored on man advantage as Willie Mitchell brought LA back to within one gaol. Derick Brassard had scored another for the Rangers to make it 4-2 by the end of the second period.

    But it was not over.  Dwight King and Marian Gaborik both scored, with Gabo netting his 13th goal of the post-season, making him the second most productive scorer in Kings playoff history only to Wayne Gretzky who tops the list at 15 goals… and it was still not over. The goal had only sent the Kings into overtime… again.

    The game stretched out to double overtime and it was The Captain that sealed the 5-4 win as Dustin Brown had put an end to the heart-attack inducing game. It was a great victory, but a tiring one. Probably for the players as well. It was now on to Broadway.

    Game 3, June 9

    Kings 3 at Rangers 0 – Kings lead series 3-0

    The Kings did something that not a lot of people can do. They completely silenced Madison Square Garden. The world famous arena had started the game as electric as could be, as it was hosting their first Stanley Cup game in two decades. Rangers fans could not have been more rabid (I mean that in a hockey-fans-rock kind of way, not the ‘Cujo’ way). Unfortunately, LA had other plans.

    New York had sent 32 shots toward Jonathan Quick and the Kings net minder stopped them all. He was simply impressive as he went all 2012 on the Rangers as he showed his form from two seasons ago. The defense was there, the Kings now had to find a way to score. In pure basketball fashion,

    Jeff Carter

    had received the puck in front of Lundqvist and hit a buzzer beater as the puck went in before the first period ended. Mere milliseconds. Mike Richards and

    Jake Muzzin

    had added two of their own to put the Kings up 3-0, which is where it stayed. The Kings were on the verge of sweeping the Rangers, three series removed from when they where down 0-3 and won four in a row to defeat San Jose. The Kings could make history.

    Game 4, June 11

    Kings 1 at Rangers 2 – Kings lead series 3-1

    Los Anegeles eventually made history, but it would not be in Game 4 as it seemed the hockey gods did everything to stop the Kings from sweeping the Rangers. One example of that is when Anton Stralman stopped the puck before it crossed the line as he was luckily in back of Lundqvist who had lost sight of it. What would have been a Jeff Carter goal, was reviewed and negated any chance of a score.

    Pouliot and St. Louis had scored for the Rangers which was all they needed to take the win. Dustin Brown had added a break-away goal in the third, but unfortunately it was all they could get. Luck was not on L.A.’s side as the Kings were again inches from scoring, this time, with two minutes left in regulation, L.A. was attacking the net and as several players swarmed the crease, Lundqvist lost the puck under his legs. The rubber disc lay inches from the goal as it sat there five seconds while everyone around the net searched for it. No Goal. It was that kind of night for Los Angeles.

    Game 5, June 13

    Rangers 2 at Kings 3 (2OT) – Kings win series 4-1 and are The Stanley Cup Champions!

    If anyone watching these playoffs were not wrecked with exhaustion, they would be after this game. With the series back in Los Angeles and the Kings up 3-1, it seemed imperative that they win this game.

    Jun 13, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (left) presents Los Angeles Kings right wing Justin Williams with the Conn Smythe Trophy after game five of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final against the New York Rangers at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    Justin Williams, Mr. Game 7 himself, got things started for the Kings as he got the puck in the net amid a scrum. The game was 1-0 well into the second period before the Rangers got on the board. Kris Krieder paced himself in front of Quick while New York was on a power play as he took a pass from McDonaugh who was in the right circle and redirected a pass to the left side of the goal. New York then scored short handed when Slava Voynov mishandled the puck near mid-ice. Hagelin out-hustled Voynov as he checked the Kings defensemen, pulled out the puck and centered it to Brian Boyle who was streaking down the center of the ice. With his momentum, he was no match for the lone King in defense, Drew Doughty, as deked pass #8 and sent the puck flying past Quick. New York’s hopes were up and so were they, 2-1. But this is Hollywood and it deserved a Hollywood ending.

    That ending began almost eight minutes into the third period when Gaborik scored his 14th goal of the playoffs (one short of Gretzky) to tie the game on a power play goal. Drew Doughty had shot the puck from the top of the right circle on a relentless man advantage as the puck rebounded in front of the net and a well-placed Gaboroik took it to the right side of Lunqvist to tie the score.

    As you know, this game was going into overtime, NAY! Two overtimes! In that span, both teams were attacking the net as the best two teams in their respective conferences could. Shots were flying everywhere, but this game had to end and it ended with a bang.

    Three quarters into the second overtime, the Kings had a three man rush lead by Kyle Clifford. As he entered the offensive zone, he passed it to his right to Tyler Toffoli who smacked a laser at Lundqvist. The shot bounced off to his right where an open Alec Martinez was left with an open net.

    Los Angeles were once again Kings of the NHL as they won their second Stanley Cup in three years as they won 3-2. Dynasty, maybe? It is possible, but at that moment, after 26 playoff games, the Kings wanted nothing else to think about other than raising the most coveted trophy in sports. Lord Stanley was L.A.’s once more.

    In addition to that, Justin Williams was named the MVP of the playoffs as he got to raise the Conn Smythe Trophy in front of his home crowd. His teammates and Staples Center went crazy when they heard his name called. The cheering got even louder when NHL Commissioner

    Gary Bettman

    called over Brown to raise the cup for the second time in three seasons. It was fantastic.

    Today, the Kings start a new season, one that hopefully ends like the last, but for now, it will start as they raise the banner for their 2014 Stanley Cup Championship.

    Go Kings Go!