A remarkable playoff performance indeed by our beloved Kings last spring. We all had the thrill of witnessing accomplishments never been seen before in the long history of Stanley Cup Playoff play and might never see again.
For starters…a number eight seed winning the Cup. It was never done before and although a future number eight seed may win, it is a real long shot that they will do what the Kings did…beat the first, second and third seeds in their Conference to advance to the Final.
If that wasn’t impressive enough…how about going up 3-0 in all four rounds after starting all four rounds on the road? The Kings never had the pressure of a “must win” game and were in total control in every series. No other Stanley Cup champion ever won the first three games of every series.
To cap it off, how about that road record! When they won Game 2 of the Final in New Jersey, it gave the Kings a 10-0 road record in the postseason, and dating back to the 2011 playoffs with San Jose, it was a 12-game road playoff winning streak. The ten straight road wins in one playoff year and 12 straight over two years are both new NHL records.
There are 30 teams in the NHL and 18 have now won a Stanley Cup. The Kings Stanley Cup in the spring was, of course, their first and it came in their 45th season.
We can now cross the Kings off the list of teams that have gone the longest without winning a championship. Toronto continues to hold the distinction of having the longest Cup drought. The Leafs last Cup win was in 1967, the season before the Kings and five other teams joined the NHL in the first wave of expansion.
St. Louis entered the league with the Kings and the Blues have yet to win in their 45 seasons. The Blues have made the Final three times in their history with appearances in each of their first three years of existence when they were the dominant expansion team.
Two other franchises that joined the league in 1970 have now gone 42 seasons without a Cup: Vancouver and Buffalo. The Canucks have made the Final three times in club history: 1982, 1994 and 2011. The Sabres have lost twice in the Final, once in 1975 and again in 1999.
Rounding out this dubious “top five” list is Washington. The Caps began play in 1974 and have been to the Final only once: 1998. The other teams without a Cup include Phoenix (started in Winnipeg), Florida, San Jose, Ottawa, Nashville, Columbus, Minnesota and Winnipeg (started in Atlanta).
Ziggy Palffy played five seasons for the Kings beginning in 1999-00, and during his tenure he scored 150 goals (an average of 30 per season) and added 340 points. He might have been the most exciting Kings player to watch since the days of Wayne Gretzky, who spent eight seasons with the Kings (1988-96).
After five seasons as a King and the cancellation of the 2004-05 season, Palffy left Los Angeles and signed with Pittsburgh as a free agent, but retired soon after due to a shoulder injury.
Palffy’s days in the NHL may have ended but for the past five seasons he’s played in his hometown of Skalica, Slovakia, in the Slovakian Elite League. Last season, at the age of 39, (he turned 40 in May), he led his league in scoring with 83 points (including 26 goals) in 48 games. He finished with 21 more points than his teammate Rene Skoliak, who placed second in league scoring.
As a King, Palffy scored 340 points in 310 games and he is one of only eight players in franchise history (minimum 200 points) to average at least a point a game. This list of “elite eight” also includes Gretzky, Luc Robitaille, Marcel Dionne, Bernie Nicholls, Charlie Simmer, Tomas Sandstrom and Jimmy Carson.