Seven years ago this evening, Lord Stanley settled on Los Angeles as his summertime home. This wasn’t any quick or rash decision. Unlike the 2014 run – a 26-game marathon in which the LA Kings needed seven games in each series while outscoring the NHL’s sixth, second and top-rated offenses – the 2012 run, for many of us who were entrenched with the team that spring, was decided early in the second round. I’ve shared this regularly both in person and on this site, so forgive any repetition, but when Los Angeles weathered St. Louis’ first period Game 1 onslaught, and won the game on a second period Matt Greene shorthanded goal, the Kings’ plans that spring began to take shape. Was the story that they’d beaten the Canucks in a 1 vs 8 match-up, or was there something deeper and more profound happening? Mike Richards’ goal 31 seconds into Game 2 and Anze Kopitar’s beautiful shorthanded goal that followed answered that question for a number of us who were at the Scottrade Center that night, and as Jeff Carter and Kopitar widened the lead to 4-0 after 20 minutes with their quick, late-period strikes, there wasn’t much time to gather thoughts or context. Bob Miller made a great living and captivated Kings fans with his words, but when we locked eyes immediately after the period ended, so much was conveyed without using any. It was that wide-eyed, incredulous understanding that something special was going on, and so much was conveyed just through his facial expression. On April 30. Yes, the Kings were absolutely the team to beat from that point forward, and would probably end the season as champions.
“People should know when they are conquered,” Quintus said to Maximus.
Despite the seeming inevitability, that hadn’t happened yet, at least not to the New Jersey Devils, and for the only time in the spring of 2012, Los Angeles lost two playoff games in a row when Adam Henrique and Bryce Salvador potted game-winners to bring New Jersey to within a pair of wins of their fourth Cup. The details of that game remain familiar for all Kings fans and were deftly captured in the original Stanley Cup Moments series, which told wonderful stories about the 20-game sprint and included a number of reflections and testimonials of the feeling on the ice, the bench, the press box and throughout the arena as the seconds ticked down on the organization’s first championship.
“I was so happy for Kings fans at that moment, that they’re not on the edge of their seats. They knew if [New Jersey] tie it, we’re going to overtime and you’re nervous. It’s just ‘let’s just let it out.’ Let’s just cheer and scream and holler because the game is over, and finally we’ve won the Stanley Cup.”
–Lead photo via Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI