A miserable playoff start, memorable Stanley Cup finish for Kings

Kings fans cheer the players as they celebrate their double-overtime victory over the Rangers on Friday night.
Kings fans cheer the players as they celebrate their double-overtime victory over the Rangers on Friday night.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

After becoming the first team to reach the Stanley Cup Final by winning three series in Game 7, all on the road, the Kings’ five-game series victory over the New York Rangers to win the Stanley Cup almost seemed abrupt — except that all three games at the Staples Center went into overtime, including Game 5, a double-overtime affair that was the longest in Kings history.

Alec Martinez, who scored in overtime to eliminate the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference finals, scored the series-deciding goal in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final as the Kings tied the NHL record for most postseason games, 26. The journey to the Cup began with a comeback from a 3-0 series deficit to the San Jose Sharks in the first round. In the next round, the Kings rebounded from a 3-2 deficit against the Southern California rival Ducks, before taking care of Chicago to win the West.

The long and winding road to the Kings’ second Stanley Cup championship in three seasons:



GAME 1: April 17

at San Jose 6, Kings 3

Jonathan Quick was replaced by rookie Martin Jones after giving up five goals in the first two periods. Jake Muzzin and Slava Voynov scored in the first seven minutes of the third period and Trevor Lewis cut the lead to two with 6:01 left. But that was as close as the Kings got. The Sharks’ Brent Burns scored in the final minute of the game to give his team a three-goal win.

Three stars: Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Sharks, 1 goal, 1 assist;

Raffi Torres, Sharks, 1 goal; James Sheppard, Sharks, 2 assists

GAME 2: April 20

at San Jose 7, Kings 2

The Kings jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period before giving up seven straight goals. Quick once again struggled but Coach Darryl Sutter let him play the entire game instead of pulling him as he had done in Game 1.


Three stars: Mike Brown, Sharks, 1 goal; Andrew Desjardins, Sharks, 2 assists; Raffi Torres, Sharks, 1 goal

GAME 3: April 22

at San Jose 4, Kings 3 (OT)

A Patrick Marleau shot deflected off defenseman Voynov and past Quick at 6 minutes 20 seconds of overtime to give the Sharks the win and push the Kings to the brink of elimination. It was the first time the Kings trailed 3-0 in a series since 2000, when they were eventually swept by Detroit.


Three stars: Patrick Marleau, Sharks, 1 goal, 1 assist; Drew Doughty, Kings, 2 assists; Jarret Stoll, Kings, 1 goal

GAME 4: April 24

at Kings 6, San Jose 3

Justin Williams scored twice to help the Kings avoid elimination in the first round of the playoffs. Williams, who had been without a point in the first three games of the series, had previously scored twice against the Sharks in Game 7 of their second-round playoff battle in 2013. Marian Gaborik also scored two goals.


Three stars: Justin Williams, Kings, 2 goals; Marian Gaborik, Kings, 2 goals; Dustin Brown, Kings, 1 goal, 1 assist

GAME 5: April 26

Kings 3, at San Jose 0

Quick made 30 saves to help the Kings stave off elimination for the second time in the series. The shutout was Quick’s first in a playoff since last year’s second-round series against the Sharks, and it came in San Jose, where the Kings had not won a playoff game since 2011. Tyler Toffoli, Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter scored goals.


Three stars: Jonathan Quick, Kings, 30 saves; Drew Doughty, Kings, 1 assist; Jeff Carter, Kings, 1 goal

GAME 6: April 28

at Kings 4, San Jose 1

Williams scored his second goal of the night and Kopitar added two as the Kings rode a three-goal third period to victory and forced a Game 7 in San Jose. By doing so, the Kings became the ninth team in NHL history to force a Game 7 after being down 3-0 in a series.


Three stars: Justin Williams, Kings, 2 goals, 1 assist; Anze Kopitar, Kings, 2 goals, 1 assist; Jonathan Quick, Kings, 26 saves

GAME 7: April 30

Kings 5, at San Jose 1

The Kings fell behind when the Sharks’ Matt Irwin scored 28 seconds into the second period. Drew Doughty evened things up four minutes later and Kopitar gave the Kings the game-winner with a minute left in the period. Toffoli, Dustin Brown and Tanner Pearson added goals as the Kings became the fourth NHL team to come back from a 3-0 series deficit and set up a crosstown grudge match with the Ducks in the second round of the playoffs.


Three stars: Anze Kopitar, Kings, 1 goal, 1 assist; Jonathan Quick, Kings, 40 saves; Drew Doughty, Kings, 1 goal


GAME 1: May 3

Kings 3, at Ducks 2 (OT)


Gaborik scored with seven seconds left in the third period to tie the score and again 12 minutes into overtime to give the Kings the Game 1 victory. Gaborik became the first player in playoff history to score in the last 10 seconds of regulation and then score the game-winner in overtime. Alec Martinez scored the Kings’ first goal at 9:04 of the first period.

Three stars: Marian Gaborik, Kings, 2 goals, 1 assist; Teemu Selanne, Ducks, 1 goal; Jonathan Quick, Kings, 35 saves

GAME 2: May 5

Kings 3, at Ducks 1


Quick had 36 saves to lead the Kings to a Game 2 victory against the Ducks. Gaborik scored 34 seconds into the game to give the Kings the lead but the Ducks’ Patrick Maroon would even things up at 9:40. Martinez scored the game-winner at 12:07 of the first period and Dwight King added a third goal with a minute left.

Three stars: Jonathan Quick, Kings, 37 saves; Alec Martinez, Kings, 1 goal; Patrick Maroon, Ducks, 1 goal

GAME 3: May 8

Ducks 3, at Kings 2


The Ducks took the lead with a Corey Perry goal 4:06 into the first period and never relinquished it. Carter tied the score 4 minutes and 59 seconds into the second period but Teemu Selanne put the Ducks back on top before the end of the period. Ben Lovejoy gave the Ducks a two-goal cushion in the third period that shielded them from Mike Richards’ last-minute goal.

Three stars: Teemu Selanne, Ducks, 1 goal; Jeff Carter, Kings, 1 goal, 1 assist; Sami Vatanen, Ducks, 2 shots, 20:19 TOI

GAME 4: May 10

Ducks 2, at Kings 0


Twenty-year-old rookie goaltender John Gibson made his NHL playoff debut for the Ducks. He made 28 saves in his shutout performance which lifted the Ducks past the Kings to tie the series, 2-2. Two first-period goals were enough to earn the Ducks a Game 4 victory. Devante Smith-Pelly scored at 16:02 in the first period and Ryan Getzlaf scored two minutes later.

Three stars: John Gibson, Ducks, 28 saves; Corey Perry, Ducks, 2 assists; Cam Fowler, Ducks, 23:06 TOI

GAME 5: May 12

at Ducks 4, Kings 3


Smith-Pelly’s two goals in the second period helped stave off a Kings comeback to give the Ducks the victory in Game 5 and the series lead. Gaborik scored two goals, one at 18:42 in the second period and one at 14:12 in the third period, which brought the Kings within 4-3 with six minutes to go. But the Ducks defense, led by Gibson’s 39 saves, held strong to secure the win.

Three stars: Devante Smith-Pelly, Ducks, 2 goals; Marian Gaborik, Kings, 2 goals; John Gibson, Ducks, 42 saves

GAME 6: May 14

at Kings 2, Ducks 1


Quick had 21 saves and goals by Muzzin and Trevor Lewis gave the Kings just enough to squeeze past the Ducks and force a Game 7 in Anaheim. Muzzin scored 8 minutes and 16 seconds into the first period and Lewis doubled that in the second period. The Ducks’ Kyle Palmieri cut the lead to one, scoring at 15:42 in the second period. But the Kings defense, which gave up the fewest goals in the regular season, held them off.

Three stars: Anze Kopitar, Kings, 1 assist; Francois Beauchemin, Ducks, 23:47 TOI, 5 hits; Jake Muzzin, Kings, 1 goal

GAME 7: May 16

Kings 6, at Ducks 2


Quick had 25 saves and six different Kings got on the scoreboard as the team routed the Ducks to advance to the conference finals for the third year in a row, where they would face the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago eliminated them last year in the conference finals. After giving up four goals on 18 shots, Gibson was replaced by veteran Jonas Hiller two minutes into the second period.

Three stars: Mike Richards, Kings, 1 goal, 1 assist; Jonathan Quick, Kings, 25 saves; Justin Williams, Kings, 1 goal, 1 assist


GAME 1: May 18


at Chicago 3, Kings 1

Chicago’s Brandon Saad scored 14:46 into the first period to give Chicago the lead. Toffoli tied the score for the Kings at 4:35 in the second period, but then Chicago ran away with a Duncan Keith goal at 11:54 in the second period and a Jonathan Toews score in the third period to give Chicago a 1-0 lead in the series.

Three stars: Brandon Saad, Blackhawks, 1 goal, 1 assist; Corey Crawford, Blackhawks, 26 saves; Tyler Toffoli, Kings, 1 goal

GAME 2: May 21


Kings 6, at Chicago 2

The Kings trailed Chicago 2-1 heading into the third period, but the offense came alive with three goals from Carter and one each from Muzzin and Toffoli in the final period to give the Kings a 6-2 win and even the series at one. The victory snapped the Blackhawks’ 7-0 home record during this postseason. The Kings also spoiled another statistic for Chicago — the team had not given up more than four goals in a playoff game this season.

Three stars: Jeff Carter, Kings, 3 goals, 1 assist; Jonathan Quick, Kings, 25 saves; Ben Smith, Blackhawks, 1 goal

GAME 3: May 24


at Kings 4, Chicago 3

Carter scored once and added two assists in the Kings’ victory that gave them a 2-1 series lead. The Kings trailed twice in the first period, 1-0 and then 2-1, both times after goals by Toews, but took the lead in the second period on a Toffoli goal and did not look back. Toffoli and Pearson extended their four-game point-scoring streaks; Pearson with the assist to Carter and Toffoli with a goal at 14:19 of the second period.

Three stars: Jeff Carter, Kings, 1 goal, 2 assists; Drew Doughty, Kings, 1 goal, 1 assist; Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks, 2 goals

GAME 4: May 26


at Kings 5, Chicago 2

Muzzin, Gaborik and Brown scored in the first period to give the Kings an early 3-0 lead. Doughty continued the scoring fest in the second period before Saad finally pulled one back for Chicago. Bryan Bickell got the Blackhawks within two in the third period, but Pearson continued his scoring streak with a goal in the final minutes to give the Kings a 3-1 series lead and bring them within one victory of the Stanley Cup Final.

Three stars: Anze Kopitar, Kings, 2 assists; Jake Muzzin, Kings, 1 goal, 1 assist; Jarret Stoll, Kings, 18:12 of ice time, won key faceoffs

GAME 5: May 28


at Chicago 5, Kings 4 (2 OT)

Michal Handzus, the oldest player on the Blackhawks’ roster at 37, backhanded a shot past Quick 2 minutes and 4 seconds into the second overtime to keep Chicago alive. Pearson had given the Kings a 4-3 lead at 13:08 of the second period but Ben Smith tied the score, 4-4, at 1:17 of the third period. The scoring went blank until Handzus’ game-winner.

Three stars: Brandon Saad, Blackhawks, 1 goal, 2 assists; Patrick Kane, Blackhawks, 4 assists; Michal Handzus, 1 goal

GAME 6: May 30


Chicago 4, at Kings 3

Patrick Kane scored at 16:15 of the third period to lift the Blackhawks over the Kings and force a Game 7 at the United Center. Kane scored two goals and set up a Duncan Keith goal that tied the score at 3-3. Chicago’s win set up the Kings’ third Game 7 of the postseason.

Three stars: Patrick Kane, Blackhawks, 2 goals, 1 assist; Drew Doughty, Kings, 1 goal, 1 assist; Duncan Keith, Blackhawks, 1 goal

GAME 7: June 1


Kings 5, at Chicago 4 (OT)

Alec Martinez’s wrist shot at 5:47 of overtime bounced off the body of Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy and went past goaltender Corey Crawford, sending the Kings to their second Stanley Cup Final in three years. Gaborik tied the score at 12:43 of the third period after the Kings had battled back from a two-goal deficit in the first period and subsequent one-goal deficits. It was the first time the conference finals were decided in an extra period in 20 years, when the New York Rangers — who the Kings would face in the Stanley Cup Final — defeated the New Jersey Devils. The Kings were 7-0 in elimination games on their run to the Stanley Cup Final.

Three stars: Alec Martinez, Kings, 1 goal; Patrick Sharp, Blackhawks, 2 goals; Dustin Brown, Kings, 2 assists



GAME 1: June 4

at Kings 3, Rangers 2 (OT)

The Kings overcame a 2-0 deficit, defeating the Rangers on Justin Williams’ goal 4:36 into overtime. The Rangers’ two goals came with a 1:43 span in the first period and they were quiet offensively the rest of the game as the Kings pulled even on goals by Drew Doughty and Kyle Clifford. The Kings completely dominated the third period, outshooting New York, 20-3. Williams took advantage of a turnover in the Rangers’ zone, and skated in all alone on Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, beating him to the top left corner. “Yeah, nobody is ever out of it,” Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said. “Keep plugging away and make a big play to tie it, make a big play to win it.” It was their first playoff overtime win at Staples Center since May 6, 2001.

Three stars: Justin Williams, Kings, 1 goal, 1 assist; Kyle Clifford, Kings, 1 goal, 1 assist; Carl Hagelin, Rangers, 1 goal


GAME 2: June 7

at Kings 5, Rangers 4 (2 OT)

The Kings found themselves facing a two-goal first period deficit again, and once again came back to win. “I’m a little drained, but you know that’s what it takes to win a game,” Anze Kopitar said after the game. “I think every single guy in here is prepared to drain himself pretty good, so it’s obviously nice to get the win.” The Rangers led, 4-2, after two periods. Only 1:58 into the third, Matt Greene fired a wrist shot that Dwight King deflected past Henrik Lundqvist to cut the score to 4-3. Later in the period, after a flurry of chances in front of the net, Marian Gaborik chipped the puck past Lundqvist to tie the score with 12:24 remaining. It was Gaborik’s 13th goal of these playoffs, only two shy of Wayne Gretzky’s team record. In the second overtime, Willie Mitchell fired a shot low to net and Dustin Brown redirected the puck past Lundqvist for the win and a 2-0 series lead.

Three stars: Dustin Brown, Kings, 1 goal; Justin Williams, Kings, 3 assists; Mats Zuccarello, Rangers, 1 goal, 1 assist


GAME 3: June 9

Kings 3, at Rangers 0

After two tight games, the Kings won a relative laugher. The Kings got a great performance from Jonathan Quick, who made several incredible saves and stopped 32 shots while getting his ninth career playoff shutout and second of these playoffs. “You make one save, then the next one, and then you go from there,” Quick said afterward. The key moment came at the end of the first period. Justin Williams found Jeff Carter, who was at the top of the slot, with a perfect pass, and Carter snapped it home with 0.7 seconds remaining in the period. That seemed to let all the air out of the building and all the energy out of the Rangers. Jake Muzzin scored on a power-play goal in the second period and Mike Richards scored later in the period when his pass attempt hit the skate of the Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh, and bounced back to him, allowing him to lift the puck into the net in from of a scrambling Ludqvist. It was the ninth consecutive game the Kings scored at least three goals, amazing for a team that finished 26th in the NHL in scoring in the regular season.

Three stars: Jonathan Quick, Kings, 32 saves; Jeff Carter, Kings, 1 goal; Justin Williams, Kings, 1 assist


GAME 4: June 11

at Rangers 2, Kings 1

The Rangers showed they weren’t quite done yet as Henrik Lundqvist put on a command performance in goal for New York, stopping 41 shots, including a seemingly unrelenting barrage in the third period. “He played very well for them tonight,” Drew Doughty said of Lundqvist. “He came up with some big saves at some big times. We knew that he was going to play like this every game. We need to get more bodies in front of him. We need to bury our rebounds, and pucks are laying behind home, those have to go in too.” Benoit Pouliot and Martin St. Louis scored for the Rangers, who didn’t let this 2-0 lead get away. Dustin Brown scored 8:46 into the second period, but that was all Lundqvist allowed, despite an amazing offensive show by the Kings. From the point of Brown’s goal, the Kings outshot the Rangers 26-3 through the final 31:14 minutes of the game. The Kings outshot the Rangers, 15-1, in the third period, but Lundqvist stood tall. “One mistake and the season is over,” Lundqvist said. “You’re definitely aware of that. When you go out to these types of games where you know everything can be over after this period or the next two periods.”

Three stars: Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers, 41 saves; Martin St. Louis, Rangers, 1 goal; Tanner Pearson, Kings, 8 shots, 4 hits


GAME 5: June 13

at Kings 3, Rangers 2 (2 OT)

Alec Martinez ended the longest game in Kings history when he gathered the rebound of a Tyler Toffoli shot and slammed it into the net past Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist at 14:43 of the second overtime to give the home team a 3-2 victory and the series-clinching victory. “It came off his pad pretty quick and I just tried to get a stick on it and get it on net,” Martinez said afterward. “I blacked out. 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. It’s just a surreal moment. I’m just so happy for these guys.” Both sides were holding their breath in the overtimes as shots clanged off crossbars and posts before Martinez finally delivered. The Kings mustered 22 shots in the extra sessions, and the Rangers 15. “This one was tough,” Kings center Jeff Carter said. “I think we got a real appreciation for what it takes now to win this, a lot of ups and downs. We had to dig deep and we had to really battle.” The Kings opened the scoring in the first period when Justin Williams, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the most valuable player in the playoffs, slid a rebound under Lundqvist. He had 25 points in 26 postseason games, including seven points in the final series. New York tied the score on a power play when Chris Kreider took a perfect pass from Ryan McDonagh and knocked the puck into the open side of the net. Brian Boyle gave the Rangers the lead with a short-handed goal late in the second period, his shot deflecting off the stick of Kings defenseman Drew Doughty and into the top right-hand corner of the net. The Kings tied the score in the third period before the Rangers had another shot on goal, Marian Gaborik stuffing the puck past Lundqvist on a Kings’ power play. Then it was a lot of close calls until the Martinez moment. “I think it takes a lot of effort and will,” Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said. “It showed up again tonight. I mean, just over and over and over. “

Three stars: Alec Martinez, Kings, 5 shots, 1 goal; Marian Gaborik, Kings,1 goal; Dan Girardi, Rangers, 39:49 ice time, 4 hits.