With the exception of one game in the first five, each tilt between the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils had been close from start to finish. With the Devils having won two in a row and the Kings looking to end it at home on Monday night, we assumed that it would be more of the same. We were wrong.
The Kings jumped on the Devils early with pressure, even before they started putting pucks in the net. They were fast, physical, and kept creating chances. And then Steve Bernier opened up the flood gates.
Bernier boarded Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi in the first period, a penalty which earned him a five minute major and a game misconduct. Scuderi was in a vulnerable position and Bernier made no attempt to play the puck.
On that power play, the Kings would score three goals. For a unit that had scored just eight in almost 90 attempts in the postseason, it figured to be enough to carry them throughout this one. Dustin Brown and Jeff Carter each scored on consecutive shots with the man advantage, before Trevor Lewis added the third.
The Kings ended the first period with that 3-0 advantage before Carter added another in the second on a snipe of a shot past Martin Brodeur. It was a great showing in a big game for a guy that had pretty much been invisible in the first five. Lewis added the fifth late, on an empty netter, with Matt Greene deciding to add a sixth.
After a stellar postseason run prior to the finals, Brown had been quiet as well before Game 6. He notched a couple of points in this one and was all over the ice, playing great defense and adding his typical physicality to the game.
The Devils would get one on a goal from Adam Henrique, but it wouldn’t mean much of anything. The Kings were able to jump on them early and didn’t stop. Combine that with a lack of composure and you have a much more lopsided affair than really anyone expected.
With the win, the Kings capture their first Stanley Cup title in franchise history, on a run that few expected. With players like Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Carter, Drew Doughty, and Mike Richards aboard, along with the likely Conn Smythe Trophy winner in Jonathan Quick, this is a team whose success is built to last. But we’ll talk about that in the coming weeks.
For now, take the time to admire a terrific run by the 2012 Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings. A team that just a couple of months ago appeared dead in the water, firing their head coach and struggling to gain a playoff spot. They now stand on top of the hockey world.