The Los Angeles Kings secured their first Stanley Cup, routing the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in Game 6 of the best-of-seven Final.
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings’ 45-year Stanley Cup quest ended in a triumphant flurry of blood, sweat and power-play goals.
After missing two chances to secure the title last week, the long-suffering Kings are NHL champions for the first time.
Hooray for Hockeywood.
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Jeff Carter and Trevor Lewis scored two goals apiece, playoffs most valuable player Jonathan Quick made 17 saves in his latest stellar performance and the Kings beat the New Jersey Devils 6-1 Monday night in Game 6 of the best-of-seven Final.
The Kings are the first eighth-seeded playoff team to win the league championship; the other No. 8 seed to reach the Final was Edmonton, which lost in seven games to Carolina in 2006.
Captain Dustin Brown had a goal and two assists for Los Angeles, which ended its dominant postseason run before a frenzied bunch of its heartiest fans incessantly waving towels and glowsticks. The crowd included several dozen Kings faithful who have been at rinkside since the team’s birth as an expansion franchise in 1967.
“The city of Los Angeles has been dreaming of this for 45 years,” Brown said. “There were about 20 million dreams coming true tonight.”
After taking a 3-0 series lead and losing two potential clinching games last week, the Kings finished ferociously at Staples Center just when the sixth-seeded Devils appeared to have a chance for one of the biggest comebacks in Final history.
One penalty abruptly changed the tone of the series.
Brown, Carter and Lewis scored in a span of 3:58 during a five-minute power play in the first period after Devils fourth-line forward Steve Bernier was ejected for boarding Rob Scuderi, leaving the defenseman in a pool of blood.
“He turned back,” Bernier said of Scuderi. “I feel very bad, but it’s a fast game out there and it ends up being a bad play. You certainly don’t want to get five minutes for it. I wish I could take that play back.”
New Jersey was behind 4-1 after two periods.
“I didn’t want to hurt my team; I wanted to help them,” Bernier said. “This is extremely hard. It’s been a long playoff run for us. To finish on that note, it’s not fun, for sure. But there’s nothing I can do now.”
While it was of little consolation, the Devils became the first team in 67 years to get to a sixth game in the Final after falling behind 3-0 in the series.
Quick gave up a mere seven goals in six games against New Jersey.
“We never lost our confidence,” Quick said. “We had to take it on the chin to keep moving, losing two, and we looked at it as, ‘Hey, we still have to win one game to win a championship. And we have two chances.’ Finally, we were able to do it at home.”
The Kings went 16-4 in the postseason after barely making the playoffs, eliminating the top three seeds in the Western Conference in overwhelming fashion as they matched the second-fastest run to a title in modern league history.
“Every single guy worked so hard for us this season,” said Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty, who began the season as a contract holdout and finished with six points in the Final, including two assists in the first period of the clincher. “Everyone deserves this.”
Los Angeles featured a talented, balanced roster that peaked at the perfect time under coach Darryl Sutter, who replaced the fired Terry Murray shortly before Christmas.
Brown, the second American-born captain to raise the Cup, accomplished what even icon Wayne Gretzky couldn’t do in eight seasons in Los Angeles.
Quick, 26, added one more dominant game to his run, setting NHL records for save percentage (.946) and goals-against average (1.41) among goaltenders who played at least 15 postseason games.
Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell, 35, won his first title. The ex-Vancouver Canuck talked of childhood memories and fashioning a mock Stanley Cup.
“You get a little green garbage can and pose with it,” Mitchell said. “We just did it for real, baby.”