By Kevin Saito @Kevin_Saito on June 15, 2014
History will record the fact that the L.A. Kings won the 2014 Stanley Cup over the N.Y. Rangers 4-1, but this was a series played on a razor's edge, filled with momentum changes and moments that could have changed the entire complexion of the series had they gone another way. The series was a lot closer than the final tally indicates.
But in the end, the Kings are champs once again. And here are the top five moments of their historic cup win.
In what was the theme of the Kings' 2014 Cup run, they found themselves behind the eight-ball yet again, facing a 2-0 deficit just over 15 minutes into the first game of the Finals. But in true L.A. fashion, they cut the lead in half by period's end, and then evened the score in the second. A scoreless third period gave way to overtime, and just 4:36 into the extra period, Justin Williams netted the Game 1 winner.
The boys from Hollywood proved their flair for the dramatic by battling back from two-goal deficits three separate times in Game 2, with Marian Gaborik putting in the equalizer at 7:36 of the third period to make it a 4-4 game. In this game, the teams battled through a scoreless OT, and at 10:26 of the second overtime period, Kings captain Dustin Brown redirected a Willie Mitchell shot that got past Henrik Lundqvist for the game winner, 5-4.
There are 20 minutes in a hockey period. Until that horn sounds, it's not over. The Rangers seemed to have forgotten that fact in Game 3. After a hard-fought period, time was almost up when the unthinkable – at least for the Rangers – happened. At 19:59:93, Jeff Carter notched his 10th goal of the playoffs with a shot that skipped over Lundqvist's glove for a 1-0 lead in a game the Kings dominated from start to finish.
In 2012, Quick was flat-out dominant. The 2014 version has been shockingly more human – meaning that he's allowed some goals during these playoffs. He'd done enough to keep the Kings in most games, but he wasn't nearly as unbeatable as he was in 2012, posting a .911 save percentage and a 2.58 GAA. But in Game 3, the vintage Quick showed up and he shut down the high octane Rangers, posting a 3-0 shutout to stake his team to a 3-0 series lead.
In an ending that could have only been scripted in Hollywood, the Kings battled back from yet another hole after giving up a shorthanded goal late in the second period. But Marian Gaborik tied it up at 7:56 of the third, and the game then headed for overtime. And then a second overtime period. At 14:43, an exhausted Alec Martinez pounced on a rebound of a shot and buried the game-winner, giving L.A. its second Cup in three seasons.
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