LOS ANGELES - Agence France-Presse
Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown hoists the Stanley Cup after the Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils to clinch the trophy. REUTERS photo
The Los Angeles Kings have defeated the New Jersey Devils 6-1 to win the Stanley Cup, completing their improbable run to the first National Hockey League (NHL) championship in the club’s history.
The Kings, who had led the best-of-seven championship series 3-0 before dropping two straight games, completed a four-games-to-two triumph June 11.
After grabbing the last playoff spot in the Western Conference, they became the first eighth-seeded team in NHL history to raise the Cup.
Dustin Brown had a goal and two assists, Trevor Lewis and Jeff Carter scored two goals apiece and goaltender Jonathan Quick made 17 saves en route to earning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs’ most valuable player.
Quick said he didn’t expect the victory to change much for individual Kings players, but in a city where the NBA’s Lakers have been perennial title contenders and the Los Angeles Dodgers a beloved
baseball institution, a championship is good for ice hockey.
“Obviously you still go about your day the same way you always have,” Quick said. “I think the attention the team’s going to get is great. That’s something we have been looking for in this market for so long, is to get that attention towards hockey. It’s just an honor to be on this team. I’m glad to be a part of it.” The Devils, seeking a fourth title, had become the first team since 1945 to go down 0-3 in the finals and hold on to force a sixth game.
“I’m proud of our group,” said Devils coach Pete DeBoer. “You know, you put some men together and you play games on the ice every day and I couldn’t be prouder of them as a group.”
New Jersey’s two wins had raised the question of whether the Kings would join the 1942 Detroit Red Wings as the only team to blow a 3-0 Stanley Cup Finals lead.
The Kings’ triumph comes after a stuttering regular season saw them replace coach Terry Murray with Darryl Sutter in mid-campaign.
Sutter, who became the fifth mid-season replacement coach to win the Stanley Cup, said December “seems like a long time ago.” “You know what, you look at the big picture now, and I was right on how I thought about what type of players these guys were,” he said.
“Definitely, this is the team we should have been all season, especially when Carts first got here,” defenseman Drew Doughty said noting the scoring strength Carter brought when the Kings acquired him in February.
“That made our team the way it is now and we definitely didn’t play the way we could until the playoffs started.”