The Kings ended 45 years of frustration with their first Stanley Cup title. (Reuters)Then came Monday night, and finally, somehow, the throne.
With a 6-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils, the Kings won the series, 4-2, and hoisted their first Stanley Cup. They won their first 10 road games – setting the playoff record for a road winning streak, tying the playoff record for total road victories – and went a stunning 16-4 overall.
And they did it as an eighth seed, by far the lowest to win the Cup. Since the NHL started seeding its conferences one through eight in 1993-94, only one bottom-four seed had ever won it all – the 1995 Devils, a fifth seed in a lockout-shortened season.
These Kings were commoners for much of 2011-12, underachieving in a league of salary-capped equality. General manager Dean Lombardi fired coach Terry Murray and brought in Darryl Sutter in December. He acquired sniper Jeff Carter before the trade deadline in February. Despite a talented roster that had been expected to contend, the Kings ranked second-to-last in the league in scoring. They grabbed the final playoff spot in the West.