After barely getting into the playoffs as the last seed in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Kings went on an improbable run to defeat the New Jersey Devils 4-2 and win the Stanley Cup. Not since Wayne Gretzky led the Edmonton Oilers to win 16 out of 18 games to win it all has team done it in such dominating fashion. This is the first time in the 45 years of existence that the Kings have won the Cup.
– Early History
The Kings entered the National Hockey League as an expansion team in 1967. Donning purple and gold hockey jerseys with a crown logo, the Kings entered the league with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota North Stars and the California Seals. They had originally planned to share a home with the Los Angeles Lakers and play at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. But when those plans fell through the team got their own arena, the Forum, which they called home for the next 32 seasons before moving to the Staples Center where they play today.
Sporadic playoff appearances, marred by poor management and lop sided trades, had the Kings attendance near the bottom of the league. The team traded away multiple first round draft picks which stunted the development of the organization. The trades were mainly for aging veterans at the tail end of their careers, providing little long term value compared to what they were traded for. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that the team began to find it’s true identity.
– Silver And Black
In 1988, the team was sold to coin collector Bruce McNall. His first move was to change the team colors to their present day silver and black. Beyond that, he turned the team into a Stanley Cup contender almost overnight when he pulled off a blockbuster trade by acquiring Wayne Gretzky from the Edmonton Oilers. The move turned the team into a consistent playoff team and earned them their first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1993. Unfortunately, the dream fell short as they lost the series to the Montreal Canadiens.
After that season, McNall was forced to sell the team when his personal legal troubles threatened the team. When it became known that the team was even having a tough time making payroll, player salaries were jettisoned as just about everyone except for Getzky and Rob Blake were traded away. This set the team back as they only made the playoffs twice until 2010.
– Road To The Stanley Cup
After making it back to the playoffs in 2010, the team began to make strides towards becoming a Stanley Cup contender again. Before this past season, they acquired Mike Richards and Simon Gagne to bolster their offense. The moves initially paid off as they won 5 of their first 7 games. But the team began slumping and the organization fired head coach Terry Murray. Shortly after that they named Daryl Sutter head coach and made a trade on offense for Jeff Carter. The team battled back and missed out on the division title but qualified for the playoffs as the 8th seed.
Facing the Vancouver Canucks in the first round, the Kings came out flying and went up 3 to 0 in the series and eventually won 4 to 1. They followed that by steamrolling through the St. Louis Blues 4 to 0 and Phoenix Coyotes 4 to 1 to reach their second Stanley Cup Final.
The New Jersey Devils were waiting for the Kings but they looked out matched as the Kings went up 3 to 0. The Devils then came to life and won the next two games bring some excitement to the series. Game 6 was all Los Angelese as they scored early and often, winning 6 to 1 and clinching their first Stanley Cup.