The Los Angeles Kings' journey to winning the Stanley Cup for the second time in three seasons was anything but scenic. In fact, their run was all but over at the beginning when they trailed the San Jose Sharks 3-0 in the Western Conference First Round.
It was during those situations that the Kings were the most dangerous. Los Angeles rallied to beat the Sharks, becoming the fourth team in NHL history to win a best-of-7 series after trailing 3-0.
The heavy lifting didn't end with their first-round escape. The next two series, against the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks, each went the full seven games. The Kings became the first team in League history to play all 21 possible games in the first three rounds and advance to the Cup Final, and also the first to win three Game 7s on the road in one postseason.
They needed five games to beat the New York Rangers in the Final, but three of the four victories came after regulation. Alec Martinez, who got the series-winner in OT against Chicago in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final, scored the Cup-winner at 14:43 of the second overtime in Game 5 of the Final to win the Cup.
For coach Darryl Sutter and the Kings, their way is the hard way, and their tried-and-true method for reaching the promised land worked again.
"Most players, coaches, trainers never get any chance, zero [to win the Stanley Cup]. So when you get the opportunity … it’s always a testament to the group you have and to understand how tough it is," Sutter said.
Here's a game-by-game look at the Kings' path to championship glory:
STANLEY CUP FINAL
Kings defeat Rangers to win second Stanley Cup title in three seasons
June 13, 2014
Stanley Cup Final Game 5
KINGS 3, Rangers 2 (2OT)
The Kings were looking at a return trip to New York after the Rangers scored twice late in the second period to take a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes. But ex-Ranger Marian Gaborik's third-period power-play goal forced overtime, and after more than 34 minutes of racehorse hockey in OT, defenseman Alec Martinez hammered a rebound into the net to give the Kings the second championship in three seasons.
June 11, 2014
Stanley Cup Final Game 4
Rangers 2, KINGS 1
Henrik Lundqvist made 40 saves and the Rangers got goals from Benoit Pouliot and Martin St. Louis to stave off elimination in the Stanley Cup Final. Lundqvist allowed a breakaway goal to Dustin Brown in the second period, but stopped the final 26 shots he faced, including 15 in the third, when the Kings held the Rangers to one shot on goal.
June 9, 2014
Stanley Cup Final Game 3
KINGS 3, Rangers 0
With the series shifting to Madison Square Garden in New York, Jonathan Quick made 32 saves and the Kings got goals from Jeff Carter, Jake Muzzin and Mike Richards to move within one victory of winning the Stanley Cup. Carter's goal with 0.8 seconds left in the first period gave Los Angeles its first regulation lead of the series.
June 7, 2014
Stanley Cup Final Game 2
KINGS 5, Rangers 4 (2OT)
Kings captain Dustin Brown deflected Willie Mitchell's shot under the left arm of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist at 10:26 of the second overtime to give Los Angeles the victory and a 2-0 series lead. The Kings became the first team in NHL history to win three straight Stanley Cup Playoff games after falling into two-goal deficits.
June 4, 2014
Stanley Cup Final Game 1
KINGS 3, Rangers 2 (OT)
Justin Williams' goal 4:36 into overtime lifted the Kings past the Rangers at Staples Center. Williams beat Henrik Lundqvist to the stick side for his eighth goal of the postseason. Los Angeles outshot New York 20-3 in the third period to become the first team in 16 years to take 20 shots on goal in one period in the Stanley Cup Final.
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
Kings hold off Blackhawks rally to take series in seven
June 1, 2014
Western Conference Final Game 7
KINGS 5, Blackhawks 4 (OT)
The Kings rallied three times against the Blackhawks, capped by Alec Martinez's goal 5:47 into overtime, stunning the packed house at United Center. Los Angeles became the first team in League history to play all 21 possible games in the first three rounds and advance to the Stanley Cup Final, and the first to win three Game 7s on the road in one postseason.
May 30, 2014
Western Conference Final Game 6
Blackhawks 4, KINGS 3
Patrick Kane set up the game-tying goal and scored the winner in the third period for the Blackhawks, who rallied for the series-extending win at Staples Center. Kane scored twice for Chicago to force a third straight series with a Game 7 for Los Angeles.
May 28, 2014
Western Conference Final Game 5
Blackhawks 5, KINGS 4 (2OT)
Michal Handzus scored at 2:04 of the second overtime to lead the Blackhawks past the Kings at United Center. Patrick Kane had four assists for Chicago, including the secondary assist on Handzus' game-winner.
May 26, 2014
Western Conference Final Game 4
KINGS 5, Blackhawks 2
The Kings scored the first four goals, including two on the power play, to defeat the Blackhawks at Staples Center and move one win away from a return to the Stanley Cup Final. Los Angeles had scored 15 of 20 goals since Chicago led 2-0 late in the second period of Game 2.
May 24, 2014
Western Conference Final Game 3
KINGS 4, Blackhawks 3
May 21, 2014
Western Conference Final Game 2
KINGS 6, Blackhawks 2
Jeff Carter's hat trick and an assist was part of a six-goal outburst in less than 20 minutes that sparked the Kings at United Center. Tyler Toffoli and Jake Muzzin added goals in Los Angeles' five-goal third period to hand Chicago its first postseason loss on home ice.
May 18, 2014
Western Conference Final Game 1
Blackhawks 3, KINGS 1
Brandon Saad had a goal and an assist, Corey Crawford made 25 saves and Duncan Keith's tiebreaking goal in the second period led the Blackhawks in Game 1 at United Center.
WESTERN CONFERENCE SECOND ROUND
Game 7 rout sparks Kings to Western Conference Final
May 16, 2014
Western Conference Second Round Game 7
KINGS 6, Ducks 2
The Kings claimed the first postseason Freeway Faceoff series and advanced to the Western Conference Final for the third straight season. Justin Williams, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Anze Kopitar, Marian Gaborik and Tanner Pearson all had goals, and goalie Jonathan Quick made 25 saves.
May 14, 2014
Western Conference Second Round Game 6
KINGS 2, Ducks 1
The Kings got goals from Jake Muzzin and Trevor Lewis, and 21 saves from Jonathan Quick, to force a Game 7 with a win at Staples Center. Los Angeles had lost the previous three games of the series before controlling Game 6 by shutting down Anaheim's power play (0-for-5) and surviving a frantic push by the Ducks in the final seconds.
May 12, 2014
Western Conference Second Round Game 5
Ducks 4, KINGS 3
The Ducks used another strong performance from rookie goalie John Gibson (39 saves) and two goals from Devante Smith-Pelly to defeat the Kings at Honda Center and push Los Angeles to the brink of elimination. Anaheim also survived a third period in which it was outshot 14-2.
May 10, 2014
Western Conference Second Round Game 4
Ducks 2, KINGS 0
Rookie John Gibson stopped all 28 Kings shots, and Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist to lead the Ducks to a win at Staples Center. Smith-Pelly also scored and Corey Perry had two assists. Gibson, 20, became the youngest goalie in NHL history to have a shutout in his Stanley Cup Playoff debut.
May 8, 2014
Western Conference Second Round Game 3
Ducks 3, KINGS 2
Teemu Selanne's goal late in the second period broke a 1-1 tie and earned the Ducks their first win of the series, snapping the Kings' six-game winning streak.
May 5, 2014
Western Conference Second Round Game 2
KINGS 3, Ducks 1
The Kings grabbed a 2-0 series lead despite being outshot 37-17. Marian Gaborik, Alec Martinez and Dwight King scored for Los Angeles, which also received 36 saves from Jonathan Quick to win its sixth straight postseason game.
May 3, 2014
Western Conference Second Round Game 1
KINGS 3, Ducks 2 (OT)
Marian Gaborik was front and center of a dramatic Los Angeles victory to open the first-ever Freeway Faceoff series at Honda Center. Gaborik forced overtime with 7.0 seconds remaining and then scored the game-winner at 12:17 of the extra period. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Gaborik became the first player in Stanley Cup Playoff history to score a tying goal in the final 10 seconds of regulation and then score in overtime.
WESTERN CONFERENCE FIRST ROUND
Kings mount historic comeback to oust Sharks
April 30, 2014
Western Conference First Round Game 7
KINGS 5, Sharks 1
The Kings completed the fourth comeback from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-7 series in NHL history by beating the Sharks at SAP Center. Anze Kopitar's goal late in the second period gave the Kings a 2-1 lead, and they scored three times in the third to put them in the history books alongside the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1942, the New York Islanders in 1975 and the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010.
April 28, 2014
Western Conference First Round Game 6
KINGS 4, Sharks 1
Justin Williams and Anze Kopitar each had two goals and the Kings scored three times in 2:46 of the third period to win at Staples Center. L.A. became only the ninth team in League history to force a Game 7 after trailing a series 3-0.
April 26, 2014
Western Conference First Round Game 5
KINGS 3, Sharks 0
After giving up 16 goals in the first three games, Jonathan Quick (30 saves) shut out the Sharks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fourth time in his career to lead the Kings to a win at SAP Center. Tyler Toffoli, Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter scored as Los Angeles trimmed its series deficit to 3-2.
April 24, 2014
Western Conference First Round Game 4
KINGS 6, Sharks 3
Justin Williams and Marian Gaborik each scored two goals to help the Kings stave off elimination in Game 4 at Staples Center. Dustin Brown added a goal and an assist and Tyler Toffoli scored on his 22nd birthday during a three-goal second period.
April 22, 2014
Western Conference First Round Game 3
Sharks 4, KINGS 3 (OT)
Patrick Marleau's shot went off the stick of Kings defenseman Slava Voynov and past goalie Jonathan Quick 6:20 into overtime to give the Sharks a 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. Rookie Tomas Hertl tied the game with 10:43 left in regulation en route to the Sharks' fifth consecutive overtime playoff win.
April 20, 2014
Western Conference First Round Game 2
Sharks 7, KINGS 2
Second-period goals by Sharks forwards Mike Brown and Raffi Torres erased an early two-goal deficit and opened the floodgates in Game 2 at SAP Center. The Sharks also got goals from Justin Braun, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Joe Thornton to overcome a two-goal deficit after the first period of a playoff game for only the third time in 26 tries. San Jose also matched a franchise postseason record for most goals in one game.
April 17, 2014
Western Conference First Round Game 1
Sharks 6, KINGS 3
Five straight goals to open this series got the Sharks going en route to a series-opening win at SAP Center. Six different players scored for San Jose and Antti Niemi made 31 saves.
Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNHL
Author: Jon Lane | NHL.com Staff Writer
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