After a historic run through the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Los Angeles Kings have climbed the mountain to be crowned the NHL's best by defeating the New Jersey Devils in Game 6 to capture the franchise's first Stanley Cup since entering the league in 1967.
All of the Kings' accomplishments were as an eighth seed out of the Western Conference. They were not a division winner or even in the upper echelon of the conference during the season. They have maintained the notion that it doesn't matter how well a team plays in a regular season, only that it starts playing great hockey at the right time.
That's not to say L.A. wasn't a good team.
Many experts—including USA Today, which had them ranked seventh—had the Kings in the top end of the league in preseason power rankings. They underachieved for most of the year, but shrewd moves midseason—firing Terry Murray, replacing him with Darryl Sutter and trading Jack Johnson for Jeff Carter—along with Jonathan Quick's superior regular season, proved to be the difference makers in transforming the Kings into Cup contenders.
How does their 2012 championship run as a eighth seed stack up? Unprecedented and among the best.
Here are four reasons why.