Stanley Cup Final 2012: Los Angeles Kings' 3 Stars from the Game 6 Clincher
Not surprisingly, goaltender Jonathan Quick was rewarded for his cumulative 20-game playoff performance in the form of the Conn Smythe Trophy after his Los Angeles Kings clinched the Stanley Cup Monday night.
But in the 60 minutes of action that preceded the distribution of hardware, Quick’s skating mates rewarded him by pouncing on the New Jersey Devils’ lack of discipline and stole the show in Game 6. They outshot their visitors 25-18 and outscored them 6-1 to thwart an epic comeback and deliver their franchise’s first title in 45 years of existence.
At one point, namely the 1:30 mark of the second period, the host Kings had as many goals (four) against Martin Brodeur as the Devils had shots against Quick. And they owed it most heavily to their captain and a couple of offseason and midseason acquisitions.
It’s hard to resist the temptation to lend honorable mentions to the likes of Dwight King, Jarret Stoll, Trevor Lewis and Drew Doughty for their self-explanatory contributions. But in the spirit of selectiveness, the three most outstanding players in the Kings’ romp to the title are detailed as follows.
3. Mike Richards
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Going into Game 6, the team scoring first was a pristine 5-0 in this series. Sculpting a two-goal advantage was, at best, a test of the opposition’s death knell.
Accordingly, ample credit is owed to Richards for helping to set up two unanswered power-play goals that pulled L.A. ahead 2-0 in a matter of 102 seconds.
In addition, he was the best faceoff man of all participating players Monday night, winning 10 out of 13 of his draws for a 77 percent success rate.
2. Jeff Carter
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While King's rebound for Lewis at 15:01 of the opening frame gave L.A. just the second three-goal edge of the series, Carter’s second-period strike was a more crucial nail.
For one thing, it meant raising the historically less-than-safe 3-0 lead to 4-0. For another, it meant forcing the desperate Devils to start yet another 20-minute stanza on the wrong skate.
And for Carter personally, it meant his second multi-goal effort of the playoffs, following his hat trick in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. And it amounted to his second multi-point output in as many series clinchers, following his two assists in Game 5 against Phoenix.
1. Dustin Brown
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The captain was simply all over it on Monday, charging up his third three-point night of the 2012 playoffs and finishing with three goals and three assists in as many clinching games.
He started by slickly sliding the icebreaker through Brodeur’s five-hole for the first of three power-play conversions on opponent Steve Bernier’s five-minute sentence.
One shift and one shot later, he did the bulk of the work in a goal that was credited to a perfectly positioned Carter.
With a 3-0 lead at hand early in the second period, Brown set Carter up a second time with 90 seconds off the clock. Moments afterward, he proved to be anything but complacent when he stealthily stripped New Jersey counterpart Zach Parise on a diving poke-check in the center lane of his own zone.
And among the Kings skaters, only Jarret Stoll was more physical on the night with seven hits. The team’s regular-season and playoff leader in that category, Brown landed a respectable four checks in the clincher, tying himself with Lewis for second on the team.
In short, Brown epitomized himself on the night he earned the coveted handshake with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.