LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings ended the longest postseason in franchise history with the longest game they have played.
Thanks to Alec Martinez and his rebound goal, they finished as champions again.
Martinez scored 14:43 into the second overtime, and the Kings won the Stanley Cup for the second time in three years with a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 5 on Friday night.
“After it went in, I think I blacked out,” Martinez said. “I’m just so happy for these guys.”
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Marian Gaborik scored a tying power-play goal with 12:04 left in regulation for the resilient Kings, who rallied from yet another deficit before finishing off the Rangers in the longest game in franchise history and the third overtime game at Staples Center in this best-of-seven series.
After innumerable late chances for both teams in two extra periods, Martinez popped home a rebound of Tyler Toffoli’s shot for the Cup-clinching goal. Martinez is becoming a late-game playoff legend after also scoring in overtime in Game 7 against Chicago in the Western Conference finals.
“Fortunately, the rebound came to me and I was able to put it in,” Martinez said. “The New York Rangers are a hell of a hockey team. We knew it was going to be a tough series.”
Jonathan Quick made 28 saves and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Justin Williams scored an early goal as Los Angeles added a second title to its 2012 championship, the first in the franchise’s 47-year history.
Long an NHL afterthought in their warm-weather city, the Kings have turned into a burgeoning dynasty — and they have turned Hollywood into a hockey town with two titles, capped by this glamorous finish.
“We have a team that simply will not be denied,” Williams said. “Every Cup is special. What we went through in 2012 (versus) what we went through this year, huge difference, and we really earned it.”
Chris Kreider scored a power-play goal and Brian Boyle added a tiebreaking short-handed goal late in the second period for the Rangers, who showed no nerves while facing elimination for the sixth time this spring.
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 48 shots in another standout performance for the Eastern Conference champions, but the Rangers repeatedly came up one goal short against the Kings despite their goaltender’s brilliance.
“You go into this hoping that you don’t regret anything,” said Alain Vigneault, hired by the Rangers last June after he had been fired by the Vancouver Canucks. “We put it out there. We gave our best shot, best effort. Three games here all went to OT. What can I say?”
Martinez started the final rush with a pass to Kyle Clifford, who dropped it to Toffoli for a shot. The rebound went straight to Martinez, and the defenseman buried it for his fifth goal of the postseason.
“It’s a great play by them,” Martinez said. “I’m just the benefactor.”
The Kings gathered for a huge group hug near the Rangers’ net, while coach Darryl Sutter nonchalantly walked onto the ice with almost no celebration. He wore a broad grin when he raised the Cup above his head.
Captain Dustin Brown received the Cup from league commissioner Gary Bettman and immediately handed it to Robyn Regehr, the veteran defenseman and first-time NHL champion who never got back in the Kings’ lineup after his May 3 knee injury. Regehr handed it to Gaborik, the goal-scoring dynamo and late-season acquisition who won the first title of his 13-season career.
The Kings earned this Cup with an incredible degree of difficulty.
Game 5 was the Kings’ 26th playoff game of the spring, matching the NHL record for the longest postseason run. Los Angeles has played 64 playoff games over the last three years, setting another league record.
“All three games in this building, we could have easily won,” Lundqvist said. “I think we hit the post in every overtime.”