LOS ANGELES—After 45 years, the Los Angeles Kings became Stanley Cup Champions on their own ice at Staples Center on the night of Monday, June 11, 2012.
At ten minutes before the end of the third period in game six of the Stanley Cup Finals, the crowd in the sold-out house at L.A. Live’s Staples Center spontaneously begun chanting “We want the Cup!”
Going into the series, the Los Angeles Kings were anything but favored to skate away with the cup, except by their loyal (and long-suffering) fans. The #8 seed, the team had only secured a playoff slot by the skin of its teeth. After a promising start to the season, the team's midseason game floundered. Rallying by the end of regulation, it was anyone’s guess whether or not the team would survive more than the first round of the post-season.
When the Kings won the first round against the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks in five games during round one, then swept the second-seeded St. Louis Blues in the second round, the tide of opinion started to change. Suddenly the underdogs enjoyed favored status as they knocked the Phoenix Coyotes out in five games to claim the title of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Western Conference Champions.
At the start of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Kings seemed unstoppable… until they lost their first two shots at clinching the series in games four and five. In game six, both teams looked hungry for it and the visiting Devils seemed to be scrambling for the title at full steam, but the hometown heroes capitalized beautifully on a five-minute penalty assessed 10 minutes into the first period to take a 3-0 lead which they turned into a 4-0 lead within the first two minutes of the second period. New Jersey managed to lessen the gap by scoring once in the end of that period, but it wasn’t enough.
Which returns us to those final 10 minutes. The Kings are leading 4-1. They would score twice more, once on a net left unguarded by the winning-est goalie in NHL history, to skate into victory and history as the buzzer sounded and the announcer roared, “The Kings are the Kings!”
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