Stanley Cup Finals: 5 Reasons the LA Kings Won the 2012 Stanley Cup
The Los Angles Kings have defeated the New Jersey Devils by a score of four games to two to win the first Stanley Cup in organization history.
The Kings entered the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals with a 12-2 record, and were able to overcome the Devils in a six-game series, capped off by a 6-1 Game Six victory.
Here are five reasons why the L.A. Kings were able to defeat the New Jersey Devils in the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals.
5. Darryl Sutter
After finishing seventh in the Western Conference in 2010-11, the Kings added Simon Gagne and Mike Richards to an impressive core already boasting the likes of Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, and Jonathan Quick.
As a result, prior to the 2011-12 NHL season, the LA Kings were considered to be a surefire Stanley Cup contender.
However, the offense slumped, and after 29 games and a disappointing 13-12-4 record, head coach Terry Murray was fired on December 12, eventually being replaced by Darryl Sutter on December 17.
Sutter led the Kings to a 24-13-11 run, picking them up from 12th place in the Western Conference to eighth, helping the team secure a playoff berth.
With a high-tempo, heavy-forecheck style, Sutter continued his solid coaching, leading the Kings to a 16-4 record in the playoffs.
Who knows where the Kings would be had a coaching change not been made in December? Ultimately, Darryl Sutter played a major role in ensuring the Kings improved and made it all the way to the Cup.
4. Dominance on the Road
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images
An inability to win on the road is the graveyard of many an NHL team. For lower-ranked teams, such as teams ranked eighth in their conference who always have to play against teams with home-advantage, the ability to win on the road is key.
On the road in the 2011-12 Stanley Cup playoffs, the L.A. Kings racked up a sensational 10-1-0 record.
In the finals, the Kings posted a 2-1-0 away record. While they failed to finish the series in Game 5, their wins in Games 1 and 2 set the tone for the series, allowing the Kings to set up a lead that the Devils could never quite recover from.
Ultimately, the Kings, despite only recording only a 6-3-0 record at the Staples Center, were able to find playoff success because of their sensational play on the road.
3. "The Steve Bernier Penalty"
Harry How/Getty Images
The New Jersey Devils entered Game 6 in Los Angeles with a very good chance of winning. The New Jersey Devils, while having a phenomenal 15-4 record in the playoffs, were just 5-3 at home, and had only managed a 3-4 record in games when the opposition was facing elimination.
That very good chance of winning effectively ended when Steve Bernier slammed Rob Scuderi into the boards behind the Kings goal, earning a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct.
Courtesy of Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter, and Trevor Lewis, the L.A. Kings scored three goals on the powerplay, within 3:58 of each other, ending any hope the Devils had of bring the series back to New Jersey.
While it is a shame to say that the outcome of such a great season was determined by one penalty, there is no doubt about the effect of Bernier's penalty on the Stanley Cup Final. Bernier's hit was the determining moment of the season.
2. Stars Shining Brightest
Harry How/Getty Images
While the Kings did an excellent job in maximizing secondary scoring, getting frequent offensive contributions from all four lines, there is little doubt that the L.A. Kings' stars shone the brightest in the playoffs.
The Kings scored 16 total goals in the six games of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Dustin Brown had one goal and three assists for four points.
Jeff Carter had four goals for four points.
Drew Doughty scored two goals and four assists for six points.
Anze Kopitar had two goals and three assists for five points.
Mike Richards had four assists for four points.
Justin Williams had two goals and two assists for four points.
In fact, the Kings got just 15 points from players not named Brown, Carter, Doughty, Kopitar, Richards, or Williams in the finals.
There is no doubt that the play of the L.A. Kings' biggest stars was a major reason for the team's ability to succeed in the Stanley Cup Finals.
1. Stellar Goaltending
Harry How/Getty Images
History has proven that, more than anything, it is good goaltending that wins the Stanley Cup.
Jonathan Quick provided it for the Los Angeles Kings.
Heading into the Stanley Cup Finals, Quick had led the Kings to a 12-2 record, with an insane .945 save percentage.
The American would not let up in the Finals. The Kings went 4-2, with Quick riding 125 saves to a 1.12 goals against average and a .947 save percentage.
Jonathan Quick was a worthy winner of the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP. He was the main reason the Los Angeles Kings were able to defeat the New Jersey Devils in the 2011-12 finale to capture the Stanley Cup.