Stanley Cup Finals 2012: Kings 'Never Stopped Believing' They Could Win It All
The Kings capitalized on uncharacteristically undisciplined Devils play to win the decisive Game 6 by a score of 6-1.
In a series that has been defined by close games, and disciplined play, this was an anomaly that no one saw coming.
The Kings got to work with a three-goal first period after Steve Bernier was sent to the locker room with a game-misconduct for boarding Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi. The Kings tied a franchise record set in 1993 for most power-play goals in a period with three.
The Kings would continue to dominate play, adding one goal in the second, and two in the third. Trevor Lewis came away from the evening with a two goal game. Bleacher Report was there to talk with the Game 6 hero on what he felt made this team so special.
"Darryl Came in and pushed us the right way, and we just found ways to win all playoffs." I asked Lewis to describe the feeling in one word, "Unbelievable."
Unbelievable certainly. The Kings, who were one of the original expansion teams back in 1967, have been to just one other final in their history back in 1993. That series was claimed in five games by the Montreal Canadiens.
This year the Kings had to deal with a slew of setbacks, including below average years from several key players, a coaching change, and some trade deadline shakeups. They made the playoffs as a No. 8 seed, but none of that matters now.
Anze Kopitar reflected back on the long road the Kings took this season.
"We never stopped believing, we always showed character, we've gone through a lot of stuff." An emotional Kopitar went on, "I don't know if you can get anymore of an up-and-down season than we did this year."
The Kings alternate captain was a bit awestruck with the whole experience, "To win the Stanley Cup, it's surreal. It hasn't even kicked in yet."
It was evident what it meant to some of the Kings players. Grown men were on the verge of tears, many flocked to their wives and children for their moment with those close to them. Warm embraces and smiles were all around.
At age 35, it had been a long time coming for Willie Mitchell, "I can't even describe it, ya know you play road hockey, and we'd be out on the ice sheet, and we had a little green garbage can and everyone would pose with it. We just did it for real baby."
It wasn't excitement from just the players though. The Kings fans, who during TV timeouts and stoppages of play never stopped cheering, were standing for the final 10 minutes of the game as they watched their team march towards the cup. President of Business Operations and Kings Hall of Fame left winger Luc Robitaille expressed what it meant to the team and to the fans of Los Angeles.
"This is something we've been waiting for for 45 years...For our fans this is something they'll never forget. They deserve this, it's incredible." Robitaille himself, a player who won the cup once during his career with the Detroit Red Wings, expressed his disbelief in the whole situation.
"This is truly one of the greatest moments for this franchise....I mean, can you believe it? The Kings are going to be on the Stanley Cup!"
The tumultuous year of the Kings maybe hit a boiling point when Kings hired coach Darryl Sutter. Under Sutter the Kings found their game and had a fantastic latter half of the season to make the playoffs. Sutter never questioned his team, even from the beginning,
"Oh, seems like a long time ago, middle of December, whenever it was. But you know what, you look at the big picture now, and I was right on how I thought about what type of players these guys were."
It was a long road for the Kings this season. Had someone told me halfway through the year that this would be a team that hoists the Stanley Cup come June, I would have directed you to the nearest psychiatric ward. However, the Kings proved a lot of people wrong, showed a lot of determination and guts, and have been rewarded with hockey's greatest prize.
Lord Stanley's Cup, welcome to Hollywood.
Jason Lewis is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, reporting live from Staples Center. The interviews in this article were obtained first-hand. Follow Jason on Twitter @SirJDL for updates and news on the Los Angeles Kings
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