Stanley Cup 2012: Win Will Give Kings Respect They Deserve in LA

Jessica MarieCorrespondent IIJune 6, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 04:  Goaltender Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings looks on while taking on the New Jersey Devils in Game Three of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 4, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

It's hard for a world champion to keep playing second fiddle, even in the most superstar-saturated city in the world.

For a long time—too long—the Kings have fallen by the wayside in the city of Los Angeles. It's hard for any team to compete for the fans' attention when the Lakers are around, even if they're losing.

Combine that with the facts that the Clippers have seen a resurgence under Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the Dodgers are no longer terrible and the USC football team gets more attention than half the NFL, and it's easy to see why the Kings have fallen off the radar of the public consciousness.

For a while, there wasn't really a reason to care about the Kings.

They sneaked into the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs with a 40-27-15 record, just good enough for the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

They were doomed to fail, because even if they escaped the top-seeded Canucks in the first round, one of the hottest teams in the league in the St. Louis Blues would be waiting for them in the second.

And then, something miraculous happened: The Kings became impossible to beat.

Now, just one win away from a Stanley Cup victory, LA's redheaded stepsister of a professional sports franchise has somehow strung together one of the most scintillating postseason runs in NHL history.

In the Stanley Cup finals versus New Jersey—and against one of the best goaltenders of all time in Martin Brodeur—the Kings have emerged with two 2-1 overtime games and one 4-0 shutout. One more, and the Cup is theirs.

Before the Devils had the misfortune of facing LA, the Kings took care of the Canucks, the Blues and the Coyotes in short succession, losing just two games to the three of them combined for a stellar 15-2 record. 

As Brodeur takes one final stab at a title, LA goaltender Jonathan Quick has emerged as the best in the league, registering a 1.36 goals-against average, a .950 save percentage and 15 wins.

The Kings have proven to be a team that is impossible to beat unless you can score at least three goals on them, and that just doesn't happen.

The Kings still need to win one more to officially close the book on the 2011-12 NHL season, but there's no point in even considering the possibility that this team isn't going to win. They've only lost two total games this postseason—how is it remotely possible for them to lose four in a row?

It's rare to see such a stretch of dominance from any franchise, no matter what league it's in.

As the Thunder and the Spurs have both proven this year, it's hard to be unbeatable in the postseason. A run like the Kings' doesn't come around all too often, and what we're all witnessing right now is very, very special. It's nearly impossible to be that good, but somehow, the Kings have done it. 

The Kings' run has come at the perfect time, too. The Lakers are still smarting over their loss to the Thunder in the NBA playoffs, and the Clippers are done, too. Even the Dodgers have lost six of their last nine.

Finally, there's a new, rightful king of the Staples Center.