Kings' first Stanley Cup caps 2011-12 season
For the first time in their history, the Los Angeles Kings reign supreme atop the NHL.
After blitzing through the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 14 games, the Kings needed six more in the Final to beat the New Jersey Devils and secure their first Cup since entering the League as part of the first expansion in 1967.
L.A.'s 6-1 victory Monday night put an exclamation point on a postseason that saw 25 overtime games, 15 shutouts, two teams (Florida and Phoenix) enter the playoffs as division champions for the first time in their history -- and, ultimately, the Kings become the 18th franchise among the 30 now playing in the NHL to hoist the Cup.
Here are five things to keep in mind as we look back at the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs:
1. For the first time, both the captain of the winning team (Dustin Brown) and the Conn Smythe Trophy winner (Jonathan Quick) were American. Quick became the second straight U.S.-born player to be named MVP of the playoffs, following Boston's Tim Thomas; before 2011, one American player (Brian Leetch in 1994) had won that honor.
2. The Kings' special teams were just that against New Jersey in the Final. L.A. scored six power-play goals in 20 chances in the six games (30.0 percent) against a record-setting penalty-killing unit and allowed the Devils to connect once in 19 tries (5.3 percent).
3. Defense ruled in 14 of the 15 playoff series this spring. The 86 playoff games saw an average of 4.84 goals per game, but that includes the wild opening-round series between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in which the teams combined for 56 goals in the Flyers' six-game victory.
4. Los Angeles allowed 30 goals in its 20 playoff games, but the biggest reason the Kings were able to become the first No. 8 seed to win the Cup was their offensive improvement. L.A. was 29th in the NHL during the regular season, averaging 2.29 non-shootout goals per game. The Kings bumped that average up to 2.85 during their 20 playoff contests. Among the eight teams that got past the first round, only Philadelphia (3.73) averaged more -- but the Flyers allowed an average of 4.0 goals per game.
5. This was the greatest spring ever for road teams, who won a record 47 games of the 86 played. A big part of that was the Kings' unprecedented success away from home; they set an NHL record by winning their first 10 games on the road and finished 10-1 away from Staples Center, matching the most road wins by a team in one playoff year.