The Lakers and the Dodgers have company in Los Angeles. The L.A. Kings of the National Hockey League are champions, too. With their 6-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils Monday night, the Kings captured the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.
The 4-2 best-of-seven series win ended 45 years of disappointment for the Kings, who did so with a remarkable playoff run of 16-4. They were an eighth seed, by far the lowest to win the Cup. Since the NHL started seeding its conferences one through eight in 1993-94, only one bottom-four seed had ever won it all – the 1995 Devils, a fifth seed in a lockout-shortened season.
These Kings were commoners for much of 2011-12, underachieving in a league of salary-capped equality. General manager Dean Lombardi fired coach Terry Murray and brought in Darryl Sutter in December. He acquired sniper Jeff Carter before the trade deadline in February. Despite a talented roster that had been expected to contend, the Kings ranked second-to-last in the league in scoring. They grabbed the final playoff spot in the West.
And look at them now. After taking a 3-0 series lead, New Jersey took Games 4 and 5. But that was the end of the Devils’ good fortune. The Kings jumped out to a 3-0 advantage Monday night and did not let up.
Now, they will receive a champions’ parade soon — the same accorded to Lakers and Dodgers.