The Los Angeles Kings have won the 2013-14 Stanley Cup with a thrilling 3-2 win in double overtime over the New York Rangers. The game had it all -- near misses, multiple hit posts, blown power plays and shorthanded goals -- it's funny how watching a really exciting hockey game makes you forget that no one is fighting.
In the end, it was the better team who prevailed. Lumps who call themselves analysts will point to the fact that over the course of the series the Kings spent far more time trailing on the scoreboard than they did leading, but for anyone who actually watched the game, it was obvious that the Kings were the far superior team. The Rangers are a good team and Henrik Lundqvist is a great goalie, but by jove, they could barely keep their heads above water against the the Kings.
The Kings' forecheck come on strong, forcing turnover after turnover off attempted breakout passes. They were solid in the neutral zone, readily giving up the attacking zone in favour of maintaining puck possession. Their backside pressure was stifling. Rangers like former Leaf Dominic Moore were praised for their defensive shifts, but the truth is that the reason they had to play defensively was the likes of Anze Kopitar crushing them back into their own zone, rush after rush.
Going into the series, much was made of the Rangers' advantage in goal, but last night Jonathan Quick was terrific. He stopped breakaways, point blank chances, and found the puck in the midst of roiling scrums in front of his crease. People may point to Slava Voynov's deflection of a Rick Nash shot that could have ended things, but the truth is, by the end of the game there were more pucks that Lundqvist got lucky on at the other end. Quick may not be as good a goalie as Lundqvist, but he's certainly good enough to win with.
Justin Williams won the Conn Smythe trophy, which should shock just about no one. Literally every talking head on TV and about half my Twitter feed are completely in love with this man's playoff performance, and it's not hard to see why. In my view, Jeff Carter was a better player out there, but the Conn Smythe is basically a 'tournament MVP' award, and the guy who puts a lot of pucks in the net should probably win it, even if he's not necessarily the best player. Williams had tears in his eyes as he brought the big trophy back to share with his teammates.
Let's get on to some recaps of the game and some other links from around the league. Happy off-season, everyone!
Stanley Cup stuff:
Reaction from Jewels From The Crown.
Again, from JFTC.
I would too, man.
From Blue Shirt Banter.
Jeffler talks about possible allegiances.
Sigh. It's sad to see a Canadian institution shut down.
Dave Sholts with the column.