7 Years Later: Remembering the LA Kings’ 2014 Stanley Cup Victory

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 13: The Los Angeles Kings celebrate after defeating the New York Rangers 3-2 in double overtime of Game Five to win the 2014 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 13: The Los Angeles Kings celebrate after defeating the New York Rangers 3-2 in double overtime of Game Five to win the 2014 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

On this, the seven-year anniversary of the LA Kings’ second Stanley Cup victory, I recount personal reflections of the postseason that was 2014.

Sitting in my bedroom in my little new condo late at night — on the ominous Friday the 13th, mind you — with my laptop propped open and my headphones, I prepared for overtime with the thrill, and misery, of multiple potential outcomes. It was the third time in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final where overtime was needed, and this one proved to be that much more exhilarating as a whirlwind of emotions took over my body and my mind. After all, the LA Kings were, once again, on the precipice of re-capturing hockey’s Holiest prize.

My dad and his wife were asleep in the living room as they had been in town to celebrate at my housewarming party earlier that evening. As a result, I was conflicted.

The Kings had jumped out to a 3-0 series lead against the New York Rangers. The latter, however, had won Game 4 in the Big Apple to force this game, Game 5. Had the Rangers scored first in overtime, the series would be extended and headed back east, but I wouldn’t have to wake anyone. On the other hand, I just wanted the Kings to score first in overtime and clinch the Stanley Cup, knowing that I’d wake the entire floor, much less those in the next room if they did.

My conflicting thoughts weren’t answered just yet as no one scored in the extra frame.

In the second overtime, it became official that this was the longest game in Kings’ history.

Past the halfway point of the second extra frame, both teams exchanged glorious chances to score. Then, with the puck in the Kings zone and the deafening “We want Cup” chants filling Los Angeles’s STAPLES Center, the home team made a break.

After a defensive stop by Matt Greene, Alec Martinez took the puck and broke free.

Just as he approached the red line, Martinez passed to a streaking Kyle Clifford on his right, who then passed to a streaking Tyler Toffoli on his right… Toffoli took a shot on goal, the puck kicked out by the right pad of Henrik Lundqvist… but the puck bounced to the right of the netminder… it landed right on the blade of Alec Martinez’s stick…

And then…

LA Kings Anze Kopitar
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

But hang on. Let’s rewind to nearly two months earlier.

It was a cool, brisk evening on April 23, 2014. I was driving to see what would be my new home. I turned up the street, taking a quick look at the street sign. It said “Resurrection Road” and had me chuckling, “Wouldn’t it be fitting if the Kings could actually come back?”

Nearly two years after their historic Stanley Cup victory, the Kings were hoping for another deep playoff run. Unfortunately, their rivals from northern California had other ideas.

Opening the 2014 playoffs, the Kings were up against the San Jose Sharks in a 2013 postseason rematch that saw the teams go back and forth before the silver-and-black prevailed in seven games. However, the momentum pendulum wouldn’t be as active this time as the Sharks jumped out to a commanding 3-0 series lead, outscoring the Kings by a combined score of 17-8. A victory the following night and the Sharks would advance unscathed to the second round.

LA Kings Jonathan Quick
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

That next night, I tuned into Game 4 with a nothing-to-lose attitude — the same attitude I had nearly a decade earlier when my beloved Boston Red Sox were down 0-3 in their American League Championship Series to the dreaded New York Yankees. If they lost, thank goodness for 2012. If they won, all the more reason to tune in again. Simple as that.

The Kings won Game 4 by a 6-3 count. Great. Let’s see if they can extend the series after Game 5 back in San Jose.

Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, who was shaky for the first two games of the series, picked an ideal time to be on his game in this one, leading Los Angeles to a 3-0 win in Game 5. Then, back in the City of Angels for Game 6, the Kings won again, 4-1. That nothing-to-lose attitude gradually manifested itself into unbridled excitement. After all, the worst-case scenario was the Kings lost Game 7 — and if they did, they’d at least be commended for their efforts.

Such a thought proved to be unnecessary.

After the Sharks opened the scoring in Game 7 to pump up the San Jose crowd, the Kings tied it… then took the lead… then scored three more times to put not a period, but an exclamation point, on Game 7, capping off one of the greatest series comeback in sports, not just hockey, history.

LA Kings Tyler Toffoli
(Photo by Rocky Widner/Getty Images) /

All of a sudden, “Resurrection Road” became symbolic, although, realistically, my moving there was more of a happy coincidence than anything else. Still, it was something to revel in.

The Kings then took on their other state rivals, the Anaheim Ducks, in the second round. This time, the momentum pendulum swung back and forth ad nauseum. The SoCal rivals exchanged wins before Game 6 in Los Angeles. The Kings, down in the series, won 2-1 to force Game 7 in Anaheim before winning by a decisive 6-2 margin to advance to the Western Final for the third-straight year.

The Kings faced the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, who had disposed of the silver-and-black in five games in 2013’s Western Final. The Hawks got off on the right foot, winning Game 1. But, the Kings won Game 2, and back home, they took Games 3 and 4, pushing the champs to the brink of elimination.

With Game 5 back in Chicago, the game went to double-overtime. Here was Los Angeles’ chance to return to the Cup Final. But, former King Michal Handzus scored for the Hawks to extend the series. Then, back in Los Angeles for Game 6, the Kings had a 3-2 lead after two periods. That was until Chicago’s star forward Patrick Kane scored twice in the third to force Game 6 back in the Windy City.

LA Kings Alec Martinez
(Photo by Justin Heiman/Getty Images) /

Down 2-0 early in the deciding game, it appeared as if the Kings were in trouble. But, they scored twice to tie before equalizing twice more once the Blackhawks kept regaining the lead. But, in overtime, a harmless-looking point shot from Alec Martinez found its way through and fooled everyone before hitting the twine of the net.

The Kings had gotten their revenge from 2013, ousting the defending champions to set up a date with the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final.

A matchup of east vs. west, Broadway vs. Hollywood, the two best teams representing the country’s two largest cities were meeting for hockey’s Holiest prize.

The first two games were in Los Angeles with the home team needing overtime to win both. Then, they went to Madison Square Garden to shut out the Rangers in Game 3 before the Blueshirts took Game 4.

So, it was back to southern California for Game 5, to be played, no less, on the 20th anniversary of the Rangers’ last Stanley Cup victory.

LA Kings Alec Martinez
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /


As expected, I immediately woke my dad and his wife, the entire floor, and most likely those who lived directly above and below me when Martinez’s rebound shot crossed the goal line.

I felt bad, sure, but the Kings had just won the Stanley Cup… in overtime… on home ice!

It was the first time since 1980 when a home team had won the Stanley Cup in overtime. This kind of thing doesn’t happen every day, so with all due respect, I deserved to celebrate — even if I did wake up many people from their deep sleep. I mean, it’s not as if I made a habit of it, right?

But, there it was… Martinez frantically waving his hands after scoring on a down-and-out Henrik Lundqvist to give this once-long-struggling franchise their second Stanley Cup crown in three years. In an instant, Martinez’s teammates piled on with the 18,000-plus fans going insane, and the Kings’ goal horn sounding like someone was sitting on the button and refusing to move.

Then, of course, to see captain Dustin Brown hoist the Cup (again!) and the grizzled veteran, “Mr. Game 7” Justin Williams receiving the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs’ Most Valuable Player.

It was a moment, and a series of moments, that will last forever — and that’s putting it lightly.

LA Kings Stanley Cup 2014
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

9 Yrs Later: Former Kings Reflect on the 2012 Stanley Cup Victory. light. Related Story

In the days, and years, following, people ask which Stanley Cup victory was more satisfying: 2012 or 2014.

Personally, it is impossible to give a clear answer.

Both victories were wonderful but while both had their similarities, each victory was unique.

2012 was amazing because the Kings had entered the playoffs as an afterthought, for all intents and purposes.

They were up against the Presidents’ Trophy-winning, and defending Stanley Cup Finalists, Vancouver Canucks. The latter, as a result, were the heavy favorites to the point where fantasy poolies were picking most Canucks players. But, the Kings shocking the hockey world by eliminating the Canucks in five games was vindicating at worst. Then, they needed just nine games combined the next two rounds to win the Stanley Cup — in decisive fashion, no less — on home ice.

LA Kings 2014 Stanley Cup Banner
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

What made the victory even better was seeing Jonathan Quick post a 1.41 goals-against average — the greatest of any Stanley Cup-winning goaltender in the post-Original 6 era. To no one’s surprise, he won the Conn Smythe.

While it was the first of their Cup wins, the Kings also became the first (and only) eighth-seeded team to eliminate their conference’s top-three seeds. Them adding a Stanley Cup victory to that only made the journey that much sweeter and that much more satisfying.

2014 was a tougher road but that’s what was so memorable about it.

Never mind coming back from 0-3 down in their first-round series — as incredible and rare as that was — but to win three Game 7’s on the road, to go 7-0 in elimination games, and to defeat a team in the Final whose goaltender was considered the best in the game at his position when the aforementioned Jonathan Quick, who was just as deserving, was relegated to the back page of the hockey section, so to speak, the satisfaction of that victory only magnified. Heck, Lundqvist beat out Quick for the Vezina Trophy in 2012 for the NHL’s top goaltender in a year where the latter pushed a team with a dreadful 29th-ranked offense into the playoffs, before making history in those playoffs. Nevertheless, with all due respect to the Vezina, Quick won the trophy that mattered most.

I’d be lying if I said that I don’t miss the Kings’ championship success, but these were times that, no matter what, will stay in my heart forever — and I’m sure I speak for most, if not all, Kings fans when I say that.

When we look at June 11 and now June 13, we will always remember our beloved LA Kings and a level of success few could have believed.

Whether it’s seven years, seven decades, or anywhere in between or beyond, June 13, 2014, will always stand as one of the greatest days in LA Kings’ history.

And what a ride it was!

LA Kings Stanley Cup 2014
LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 13: The Los Angeles Kings celebrate after winning the Stanley Cup 3-2 against the New York Rangers in Game Five of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /