The Los Angeles Kings tonight have claimed their first Stanley Cup in the team's 45-season history, winning the National Hockey League championship by defeating the New Jersey Devils, 6-1 at Staples Center, four games to two.
"The first thing you think about as a coach -- these guys are all young enough, they've got to try it again," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said.
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick stopped 17 of 18 shots in Monday night's game and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player during the playoffs in voting by a panel of members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.
Quick had one shutout and allowed one goal each in the Kings' other three victories in the final. Quick also played every minute of all 20 Kings' playoff games, with a 16-4 record, 1.41 goals against average, .946 save percentage, both playoff records among goaltenders with a minimum of 15 games, and three shutouts.
A native of Milford, Conn., Quick, is the third U.S.-born player to win the award, which was first presented in 1965. He joins New York Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch in 1994 and Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas in 2011 as the other American-born winners.
The pivotal play in Monday's battle came 10 minutes, 10 seconds into the game when New Jersey right wing Steve Bernier was assessed a five-minute major for boarding Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi behind the Kings' net and received a mandatory game misconduct. The Kings scored three goals during the five-minute power play.
"Tonight (Monday) is about L.A. and letting them celebrate," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "If you want to ask me about that in about a week, I'll give you my honest opinion on it."
DeBoer said he felt bad for Bernier, who had 16 penalty minutes in 32 regular-season games and 27 in 24 playoff games.
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."
Scuderi laid on the ice for several minutes, went to the locker room, but later returned to the game.
Dustin Brown scored the Kings' first goal 53 seconds after the penalties, off assists by Drew Doughty and Mike Richards. Unlike a two-minute minor penalty, the Devils remained short-handed and Jeff Carter scored the second goal at 12:45 of the first period, with Brown and Richards being credited with assists.
Trevor Lewis scored nine seconds before the expiration of the major penalty, off assists by Dwight King and Doughty.
The three power-play goals in a period tied a Stanley Cup final record, shared by six other teams.
Carter increased the Kings' lead to 4-0 1:30 into the second period, with his eighth goal of the playoffs, equaling Brown for the playoff high. Brown and Kopitar received the assists, giving them each a playoff-leading 20 points.
Quick's bid for a shutout ended at 18:45 of the second period on Adam Henrique's goal off Petr Sykora's assist.
Lewis added an empty net goal with 3:45 left. New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur then returned to the game, giving up an unassisted goal to Matt Greene scored 15 seconds later.
The Stanley Cup capped one of the unlikeliest playoff runs. The Kings were the eighth and lowest seeded team among the Western Conference playoff teams. They upset top-seeded Vancouver in the first round, second-seeded St. Louis in the second and third-seeded Phoenix in the third.
The Kings won each of the first two games of the final, 2-1, in overtime in Newark, N.J. and Game 3 at Staples Center, 4-0.
They then became the first team to win the first three games of the
final, then drop the next two, since the 1945 Toronto Maple Leafs, by losing 3-1
in Game 4 and 2-1 in Game 5.
The championship came during a season when the Kings fired coach Terry Murray on Dec. 12 in the midst of a four-game losing streak which dropped their record to 13-12-4.
General manager Dean Lombardi then turned to Sutter, who took the phone call offering him the position while he was in the barn of his farm in Viking, Alberta.
The Kings had made just one other appearance in a Stanley Cup final, losing to the Montreal Canadiens in 1993, winning the first game, then losing the next four.