Andrew Rivkin is extremelly impressed with the eighth-seed Los Angeles Kings winning the most coveted prize in professional hockey. This past Monday, the Kings destroyed the New Jersey Devils 6-1 to win the series in six games. What made the win all that more exciting is that they won the game in their home arena in one of Andrew Rivkin’s favourite cities, Los Angeles. The Kings were given a huge advantage in the game when they received a five-minute power play in the first period, scoring three of their six total goals. This is the first time that the Kings have won the Stanley Cup since they joined the National Hockey League 45 years ago in 1967. Ironically, 1967 is also the last season that Andrew Rivkin’s hometown team, the Toronto Maple Leafs last won the Stanley Cup.
While Andrew Rivkin notes that the entire Los Angeles team positively contributed to their unbelievable success in the playoffs, it was their young goalie, Jonathan Quick, who had a huge impact. Quick, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs, was drafted by the Kings 72nd overall in the 2005 draft. The Kings had an impressive playoff record of 16-4. Andrew Rivkin notes that the Kings steamrolled everyone in their path after barely making the playoffs, eliminating the top three seeds in the Western Conference, matching the second-fastest run to a title in modern NHL history. The Devils beat Los Angeles 2-1 in Game 5 to stay alive and are the first team since 1945, to win twice after falling behind 0-3 in the finals.
The Kings barely made it into the postseason, only making it in after winning their 81st game in the season. Andrew Rivkin says that it was not until after Darryl Sutter took over from Terry Murray in late December as head coach that the team started performing at their potential. Another ineresting fact about the Kings playoff run is that no other eighth place seed has ever won the Stnaley Cup before.
Andrew Rivkin is confident that this young team will continue to excel in the years to come.