NHL Postseason Memories for the L.A. Kings

After three years of ending the hockey season at the start of April, the L.A. Kings have made it to the playoffs. Anyone looking for Stanley Cup betting tips will probably be advised to avoid the team as a championship contender. But strange things happen in the hockey postseason.

After saying goodbye to franchise legend, Jonathan Quick, there will have been some fans worrying how the season would go. But the Kings have been one of the most underrated teams in the league this year and could cause a few upsets in the coming weeks.

Hopefully it will be another postseason to remember for the Kings. But while we wait to see what happens this year, here are a few happy memories from playoffs from the past.

Stanley Cup Win #1 2011-12

The Kings actually qualified for the postseason in their first two seasons of existence back in the late 1960s. But it took another few decades before the franchise could finally celebrate a Stanley Cup triumph. Wayne Gretzky had come and gone by this point, but this was finally the year Los Angeles celebrated.

The regular season had not gone entirely to plan. Some good trades had bolstered a talented roster but the team was struggling midway through the regular season, eventually scraping into the eighth place spot in the West. But it was the postseason when the team really came to life.

The Kings won the first three games of each series on their way to the Stanley Cup. Vancouver, St. Louis and Phoenix were the teams that just couldn’t handle this L.A. team. The New Jersey Devils were beaten 4-2 in the finals and the Kings had their first ever Stanley Cup triumph. No Kings players featured in the All-Star team but Jonathan Quick did pick up the playoffs MVP award.

Stanley Cup Despair 1992-93

It was almost 20 years earlier that the Kings first made it to the Stanley Cup finals, with Wayne Gretzky seemingly on course to lead L.A. to glory. It didn’t quite turn out like that though. It had been a crazy season with all kinds of scoring records being broken. But it would end up being the Canadiens that denied the Kings their first trophy.

This was the season of Mario Lemieux and the arrival of the Tampa Bay Lightning. But L.A. suffered a blow with Gretzky injuring his back, limiting him to just 45 games. It was the first time ever that he did not finish in the top three for scoring. The Kings still finished third in the old Smythe Division though – and entered the postseason for the seventh consecutive year.

The Kings found the playoffs a little tougher than compared to that first championship year, defeating Calgary in the Division semifinals before surprising number one seed Vancouver in the Division finals. Toronto was then narrowly beaten 4-3 to set up a Stanley Cup date with Montreal.

A win on the road in the first game of the series got everyone very excited. But three straight overtime losses allowed the Canadiens to win the championship in front of their own fans.

Figure 2 The Kings got to play at Dodger Stadium on their way to 2014 Stanley Cup success

Stanley Cup Win #2 2013-14

L.A.’s second Stanley Cup triumph came just two years after the first. It was the first year of the new league alignment, grouping the Kings with a bunch of Canadian teams. The Kings also got to play at Dodger Stadium against Anaheim, as part of the outdoor stadium series.

The regular season saw the Kings finish third in the Pacific Division, with Jonathan Quick once again proving himself to be one of the best goaltenders in the league. L.A. actually conceded fewer goals than any other team in the NHL that year. As number three seed, it was San Jose up first in the playoffs.

It was the beginning of a grueling postseason. The Kings came back to win the last three games of the Sharks series to take it 4-3 – and then needed to win at the Honda Center to beat Anaheim 4-3 in the next round. That trick was repeated in the Conference finals when the Kings beat Chicago in overtime at the United Center to take the series 4-3.

A real team effort blitzed the New York Rangers in just five games to win the Stanley Cup though. Anze Copitar, Jeff Carter, Justin Williams and Martin Gaborik all contributed big points to help the Kings win the trophy for what is still the most recent time. Maybe this year all that will change?

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