Kings are finally NHL royalty after capturing Cup

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- From their beginnings in suburban Inglewood to their present-day address downtown, the Los Angeles Kings rarely lived up to their regal nickname.
It might have taken 45 years, but never has that nickname carried more meaning than now.
A standing-room-only crowd of 18,858 became witnesses to history at Staples Center as the Kings captured their first Stanley Cup since entering the NHL in 1967 by beating the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in Game 6 on Monday night.
The Kings got the job done in their second trip to the finals. There is something new and special to point to other than their 1993 run that ended in a five-game finals loss to the Montreal Canadiens or their 1982 "Miracle on Manchester" against the Edmonton Oilers.
"We had everybody going at the same time," center Jarret Stoll said. "That's what you need. You need a team effort. We had it every game.
"We lost a couple here and there, but we stuck to our guns. We were positive and stayed with it. It's a great feeling."
It took three tries to get the fourth win in the finals, but the Kings became the first No. 8 seed to win the Cup. They only qualified for the playoffs on the next-to-last game of the regular season, but none of their four playoff victims could match their dominance.
An apparent waltz to their first championship seemed in the cards after a Game 3 rout of the Devils gave Los Angeles a 3-0 series lead and pushed the Kings' playoff record to 15-2. The Eastern Conference champions didn't quit, becoming party wreckers in Game 4 and then taking Game 5 in Newark.
But that proved to be a mere speed bump. The Kings re-established their postseason dominance with three power-play goals in the first period Monday, and soon they had their title-starved fans loudly chanting "We Want The Cup."
"The last five minutes, it was unbelievable," said Dustin Penner, who also won in 2007 with Anaheim. "I've lived it before. It felt just as good, if not better. Especially to do it and know what it's like, know what the other guys are going to feel.
"I'm so proud of everybody and happy to do it for everybody in L.A."
The dream became reality when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman handed the gleaming silver chalice off to Kings captain Dustin Brown, who adjusted his hands and then held it aloft to an adoring full house.
"I came here in '03, so we talking nine years," Brown said. "Blood, sweat and tears from a lot of different people. People that have moved on. It's a culmination of multiple, multiple people."
Jonathan Quick capped a brilliant season with a deserved Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs' most valuable player. Quick finished with 17 saves in Game 6, giving him a 16-4 record and a 1.41 goals-against average.
Any hint of drama for Game 6 dissolved when the Devils' Steve Bernier committed one of the major mental gaffes in Cup finals history with a dreadful play midway through the first.
Bernier drilled Rob Scuderi into the glass behind the Kings' net as the defenseman's back was turned to the ice. It got the New Jersey winger a five-minute boarding penalty and a game misconduct.
The Devils lost their fourth-line forward but more important had to kill off a major penalty. And while the Kings had little power-play juice through much of these playoffs, it was the jolt they needed to grab all the momentum.
Brown was all over the ice after being left off it in the final minutes of the Kings' Game 5 loss. Playing as if he were possessed, the Kings'
leader neatly redirected a Drew Doughty point shot between Martin Brodeur's pads for a 1-0 lead less than a minute after the Bernier penalty.
Just 1:42 later, Brown got the puck in the New Jersey zone, curled to the slot area and fired a shot that got a piece of teammate Jeff Carter and sailed in past Brodeur's glove.
Dwight King, who played big in the Western Conference finals against Phoenix, used his strength to work down low and create a rebound that Trevor Lewis was able to punch in for the Kings' third power-play goal with nine seconds left in the Bernier major.
Devils coach Peter DeBoer refrained from criticizing the call and felt for his winger.
"You know it's a bad spot for him to be in," DeBoer said. "Everybody knows Bernie's heart's in the right place. He's not at fault."
The shell-shocked Devils were suddenly down three goals after limiting the Kings to one each in Games 4 and 5 to claw their way back into the series.
The Kings seemed to have enough, but they added to their lead 90 seconds into the second period. Brown steamed up ice on a rush and set up Carter for a beauty of a wrist shot to make it 4-0.
New Jersey didn't get this far without showing its mettle when it absolutely had to. The Devils had been 4-0 in games in which they faced elimination, and they had to win Games 6 and 7 against Florida.
Rookie Adam Henrique made it 4-1 late in the second Monday when he poked in a rebound past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. Henrique won Game 7 against the Florida Panthers and sent the Devils to the Cup final with his overtime goal to beat the New York Rangers.
But this hole was too deep for the Devils to escape. Lewis and Matt Greene applied the finishing touches late in the third period.
"It's awesome," Greene said. "It's great to be part of history and great to be part of this organization. I couldn't be happier."