News and notes as the city of Los Angeles celebrates the Kings’ second Stanley Cup in three years following Friday night’s dramatic 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers in double overtime:
West is Best: For the third straight season and the sixth time in eight years the Stanley Cup champions have come out of the Western Conference. Aside from the Bruins’ seven-game victory over the Canucks in 2011, the Kings and Blackhawks have combined to win four of the last five Cups.
Misery loves company: For those counting, this is 39 straight springs Capitals fans have seen the Stanley Cup awarded to another NHL team. But they’re not the only Cup-starved team in the league. The Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks have never won a Cup in their 43-year histories, while the St. Louis Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs each have gone 46 years without a Cup.
Breaking barriers: The Kings were arguably the most resilient team in NHL history, becoming the first NHL team to win three consecutive Game 7s on the road to get to the Stanley Cup Final. The Kings were also just the fourth team in NHL history to storm back from a 3-0 series deficit to win a playoff series, stunning the San Jose Sharks in Round 1. Conn Smythe winner Justin Williams was asked what he would have said if told after losing Game 3 to the Sharks in overtime that the Kings would go on to win the Stanley Cup.
“I would have punched you in the face maybe,” Williams said. “Things looked bleak for us. But we were able to channel our inner will. We just didn't want to go away. The term 'one at a time' certainly applied to us that series.”
Willy the rookie: He’s now one of the senior members of the Kings at 32 years old, but I recall covering Justin Williams when he was a rebellious rookie with the Flyers in 2000 and writing a few critical words about him. He approached me and said he didn’t like it and I said, “Prove me wrong.” Three Cups [one with Carolina, two with L.A.] and a Conn Smythe later, he has.
When I caught up with Williams before the Kings’ only visit to D.C. this season, I asked how he liked playing in L.A.
“We’re near the beach, the weather’s beautiful, and we have a chance to win every year,” said the native of Cobourg, Ontario. “What’s not to like?”
On Friday night, after finishing the playoffs with nine goals and 16 assists, he thanked Kings GM Dean Lombardi for bringing him to Los Angeles.
“He saw somebody, a player that not a lot of people saw,” Williams said. “ He gave me a chance, he gave me another opportunity, where my career wasn't going the way I wanted it to. I was able to be a piece of this puzzle, the team that he built. I'm privileged to play on this team with all the great players.”
Marty Gras: With his goal 14:43 into double overtime, Kings defenseman Alec Martinez became the first player in playoff history to score a pair of series-clinching goals in overtime. He reacted by throwing his gloves and stick in their air, but will need to watch the replays to know for sure.
"I blacked out," Martinez told reporters. "I don't really remember. I think I threw my gear. I don't know. I just remember everyone coming at me and I couldn't breathe."
Party time: The Kings will celebrate their second Stanley Cup in three years with a parade and rally beginning at noon Pacific Time in Los Angeles.