LA Kings Finally Crowned NHL Champions

By: Michael Robinson | Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Jonathan Quick

LA goalie Jonathan Quick was an easy choice for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

The Los Angeles Kings capped one of the greatest runs in NHL history and are now crowned Stanley Cup champion for the first time in team history.

The Kings wrapped up the Finals in six games on Monday night with a decisive 6-1 home win over the New Jersey Devils. They were at +1100 odds to win the whole thing before the playoffs, making several smart bettors very happy right now.

The Southern California fans were feeling anxious before last game after seeing a 3-0 series lead turn into a 3-2 margin. However, three power play goals in the first period pretty much ended the suspense early.

Jeff Carter and Trevor Lewis each scored two goals in the finale and Dustin Brown added a goal and two assists. Carter was acquired before the trade deadline from Columbus, one of the bold moves made by GM Dean Lombardi in addition to replacing coach Terry Murray with Darryl Sutter in December.

Goaltender Jonathan Quick only faced 18 shots last game and stopped 17 of them.  The 26-year-old finished the postseason with a remarkable 1.41 GAA and .946 save percentage. The Connecticut native also became just the third American-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, something predicted a few weeks ago by Don Best analysts Brian Blessing and Benjie C.

Los Angeles set numerous records this postseason. The team is the first No. 8 seed to win the title after finishing third in the Pacific Division. A lack of scoring in the regular season (2.29, ranked 29th) didn’t prove to be a problem in the playoffs (2.85, ranked third).

The Kings’ 16-4 playoff record was tied for second-best since 1987 when each playoff round was expanded to seven games. They also set a record for the most road wins (10) to start the playoffs. That was broken in the 2-1 Game 5 loss in New Jersey last Saturday, but no one is thinking about that defeat now.

Kings fans can date their long suffering back to the 1967 expansion year. There was just one Finals appearance since then (1993), led by the duo of Wayne Gretzky and Luc Robitaille. Those legends now get to see the franchise demons exorcised, in addition to other former greats like Marcel Dionne and goalie Rogie Vachon.

Repeating as Stanley Cup champion is extremely difficult. All you have to do is ask the Boston Bruins from last year and every other team since the 1997-1998 Detroit Red Wings. The shortened offseason, plus the draining effect of postseason parades and other appearances can lead to the dreaded ‘Stanley Cup hangover.’ That said, the Kings have the talent to contend next year.

Future odds for the 2012-2013 season have already been released with Pittsburgh (+500) the solid favorite and followed by Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, NY Rangers, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Vancouver (all +1000).

As always, stay with Don Best for the latest odds and information in what will be an exciting NHL offseason.

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