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A Look at the 2011-12 and 2013-14 Los Angeles Kings

by Clyde E. Dawkins 11 days ago in hockey
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The City of Angels finally hoisted the Stanley Cup in 2012, and did it again two years later

In 2012, the Los Angeles Kings won 10 road playoff games

When I started getting into hockey at the age of seven, the Los Angeles Kings were the lone local team out here in Southern California. The Kings were part of the "Original Expansion Six"; the six franchises who joined the NHL in 1967 and doubled the size of the league--from six teams to twelve. The Kings joined the league along with the Philadelphia Flyers, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the St. Louis Blues, the Minnesota North Stars, and the defunct Oakland Seals. The team was best known for being the lone American team in the infamous Smythe Division in the 1980s and early 1990s, forming some interesting rivalries with the Alberta teams. 1992-93 saw the Kings (with The Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky) reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time, and it was an interesting run that saw them face nothing but Canadian teams; defeating the Flames (Smythe Semifinals), Canucks (Smythe Final), and Maple Leafs (Campbell Final), only to be defeated by the Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Final.

Since then, the playoff appearances have come few and far for the Kings. Regarding the expansion group, the Seals ended up folding, but as for the surviving teams, the Flyers were the first to win the Stanley Cup, doing so in 1974 and 1975. The Penguins won in 1991 and 1992, while the relocated Dallas Stars won in 1999. As for the Kings, they (and the Blues) were still looking to join the Stanley Cup party, and their chance finally came during the 2011-12 season.

Anze Kopitar led the team in 2011-12 with 76 points

During the 2011-12 season, the offensive leader for the Kings was one of their alternate captains, Anze Kopitar, who led in all categories with 25 goals, 51 assists, and 76 points. Justin Williams and Dustin Brown (the latter being the captain) were tied with 22 goals, but Williams was second in points with 59, while Brown had 56. Drew Doughty led Kings defensemen with 36 points (10 G/26 A), and in net, the Kings had the two Jonathans: Quick and Bernier. Quick was the main starter, going 35-21-13, with a 1.95 GAA, a .929 SV%, and ten shutouts.

The Kings barely qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, going 40-27-15 (95 points), and finishing as the #8 seed in the Western Conference; overall, only the Washington Capitals and the Ottawa Senators (92 points each) had worse records among 2012's playoff teams. Despite this, the Kings absolutely destroyed the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference Quarterfinals--a Canucks team that a) was coming off falling one win short of the Stanley Cup, and b) had captured the Presidents' Trophy for the second straight year. The Kings only needed five games to beat the Canucks (who won Game Four to avoid becoming the first Presidents' Trophy team to be swept in the first round--a fate that would befall the Tampa Bay Lightning seven years later), and as someone who couldn't stand the Canucks that year, I was laughing my ass off when they got blasted by Los Angeles.

The Kings would sweep the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference Semifinals, making their first trip to the Final Four since their 1993 run. It was an interesting Western Conference Final, as the Kings faced the Phoenix Coyotes, who made their first (and, so far, only) Final Four appearance ever. The Kings defeated the Coyotes in five games to reach the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in franchise history, and they faced off against the New Jersey Devils, who had a lot of new faces since their previous appearance in 2003, but one face remained the same: Martin Brodeur was in net. The Kings won the first three games of the Final, but they had a few problems finishing it, as the Devils won Games Four and Five. Game Six would be the clincher, as the Kings dominated on their home ice, winning 6-1 to bring the Stanley Cup to the City of Angels.

Jonathan Quick had a 1.41 GAA in the 2012 playoffs

The Conn Smythe Trophy went to Jonathan Quick, and he was definitely the most obvious choice. Quick went 16-4 with a .946 SV%, and a 1.41 GAA. He only had three shutouts, but still: a 1.41 Goals Against Average. Nothing got past Quick; he was an absolute brick wall. The Kings didn't score a lot, but they didn't need to. Only Kopitar and Brown had a point per game; each had 20 points in 20 games, and in each case, eight of their 20 points were goals. As a #8 seed, the Kings had to be road warriors, and they definitely succeeded. Of their 16 wins, ten of them took place on the road, but ironically, their Cup clinching victory came at Staples Center. The Kings clinched their first Stanley Cup in their 45-year history on Monday evening, June 11, 2012, and I remember being very happy for the Kings for finally winning the big one.

The Kings played 26 playoff games in their 2014 Cup run

The Kings' attempt to repeat came in a slightly shortened 2012-13 season, and it saw them return to the Western Conference Final, where they were soundly defeated by the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks. The following year, 2013-14, was a completely different league; divisions were realigned, and the playoff format changed to the current version where the top three teams in each division qualified, while the Wild Card format would determine the last two spots. The Kings finished third in the seven-team Pacific Division, going 46-28-8 (100 points). Once again, Kopitar led the team with 70 points (29 G/41 A), while Jeff Carter was a distant second with 50 points. Regarding Quick, he went 27-17-4 with a GAA of 2.07, a SV% of .915, and six shutouts.

The Kings faced off against the second-place San Jose Sharks in the Pacific Division Semifinals, and a funny thing happened, though the Kings didn't find it funny. Los Angeles lost the first three games of that series. That's right. Two years removed from their Stanley Cup, and a year after reaching the Final Four for the second straight year, the Kings were down 3-0 and in danger of being swept. They did win Game Four at home, but when the team down 3-0 wins Game Four, the sentiment there is, "Well, at least they won't get swept." The team did head to San Jose and win Game Five, and that made things interesting. Then they won Game Six, and fans couldn't believe what was happening. Game Seven saw the Sharks score first, but after that, five unanswered goals from the Kings. The Kings did it. They became the fourth (and most recent) team to pull off the reverse sweep: losing the first three games but winning the next four.

The Kings faced off against the Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific Division Final, and I remember how happy I was to see this. We were supposed to get this second round series in 2013, but the Ducks blew it against the Detroit Red Wings in Round 1. Now, for the first time ever, the NHL's two Southern California teams were facing each other in the playoffs, and it was as gritty as advertised, as the series went the maximum seven games, with LA winning over Anaheim. As a result, the Kings were in the Final Four for the third straight year, and for the second year in a row, they faced the Blackhawks.

Alec Martinez scored two series-clinching goals in 2014

The Kings were looking for payback against the Blackhawks for the 2013 West Final loss, and it looked like they would get that quickly, as they led 3-1 after four games. However, the Blackhawks--being the defending champions--would not go down easily, as they took Games Five and Six to force Game Seven back in Chicago. The game took place on Sunday, June 1, 2014, and I remember that date because on that same day, just a few miles away in Rosemont, WWE held their Payback pay-per-view, and at that event, Paul Heyman riled up the crowd by claiming that CM Punk was at the United Center watching the Blackhawks lose Game Seven, which went to overtime tied at four. In the overtime, Alec Martinez got the puck, shot it, and scored past Corey Crawford, sending the Kings to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in three years.

So the Kings played the maximum 21 games in three rounds, and it paid off, as they were playing for the Cup once again. This time, they were facing the New York Rangers, and that matchup was epic for the obvious reason: it was LA vs NY. The two largest sports markets in North America were facing off for the prestigious Stanley Cup, and it was the first LA/NY championship meeting in any sport since the 1981 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees. I was really salivating over this Cup Final, but it ended up being quite short. It didn't seem short; after all, Games One and Two went past regulation. Game One needed one OT period, while Game Two needed double overtime, yet the Kings won both games, as well as Game Three at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers won Game Four to break the brooms, but Game Five ended up tied at 2 after regulation, and the score remained the same after eighty minutes. Late in the second overtime, the puck ended up in Martinez's possession after a shot bounced off Henrik Lundqvist, and Martinez put it in to a semi-wide open net to clinch the Stanley Cup for the Kings.

Justin Williams captured the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2014

While Jonathan Quick had a dominant 2012 run, his 2014 campaign wasn't as strong. Quick went 16-10 in the 2014 playoffs, with a 2.58 GAA (nearly double his 2012 number), a .911 SV%, and two shutouts--yet one of them came in Game Three of the Cup Final. Though Kopitar led the team with 26 points, it was Justin Williams who captured the Conn Smythe Trophy, as he had 25 points (9 G/16 A) in the 2014 playoffs, but a lot of those points were clutch. In addition, this was Williams' third Stanley Cup Championship; prior to the two he won in Los Angeles, Williams was part of the Carolina Hurricanes' 2006 championship run, and is dubbed "Mr. Game Seven" for his clutch moments during the do-or-die games. The Kings played 26 games in the 2014 playoffs, which is the most since 1987 (the year that the opening round became a best-of-seven series). No team has ever played the maximum 28 games. In addition, while the Kings' 2012 trend was road wins, for 2014, it was staying alive. Out of their 16 wins, seven came when the Kings faced elimination.

Another interesting note: the Kings clinched their second Stanley Cup on Friday, June 13, 2014. You read that right: the Kings won the Stanley Cup on Friday the 13th. Both of LA's Cup runs were absolutely fantastic; both of them saw the Kings fight back and win against all odds, and they truly did it with defense, which is how it's usually done in hockey. Currently, with the recent retirement of Dustin Brown, the only players left from those Cup runs are Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, and Jonathan Quick (Alec Martinez--whose five goals in the 2014 playoffs included two OT series clinchers--currently plays for the Vegas Golden Knights). The Kings haven't won a series since their Cup runs, though they did reach the playoffs in 2022, meaning that there's still a possible chance for another good run. Even so, the Kings' Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014 served as two of the best championship runs in the last 15 years.

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About the author

Clyde E. Dawkins

Born on March 18, 1985. I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also love movies--especially comedy and horror--and among my favorite TV shows are The Simpsons and Family Guy

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  • Babs Iverson10 days ago

    Terrific review💕:

  • Very interesting. Hockey is awesome!!!

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