LA Kings outsiders to claim Stanley Cup crown after comeback
The Toronto Maple Leafs did it way back in 1942, while the New York Islanders made headlines with their own version of the same trick 33 years later.
More recently, the Philadelphia Flyers wrote a new page in the history books but four years on, there was something special about the LA Kings’ sensational comeback from a 3-0 series deficit – it felt like fate.
Only the fourth team to do so, the Kings had been down and out after the San Jose Sharks made it 3-0 in Game 3 with a heartbreaking overtime win in the Staples Center.
But over the course of the next four matches, Darryl Sutter’s team came roaring back in every sense of the word: they played like lions, hunting down the Sharks goal to devastating effect.
It started with a resounding 6-3 win in their own back yard for Game 4. ‘Fine’, the Sharks must have thought, ‘let’s see how you get on SAP Center’ – they would have had a valid point.
After all, the opening two games of the series had seen San Jose gut the Kings with 6-3 and 7-2 wins, it added up that surely a repeat would follow.
But this was a different Kings team, one that was fighting for their lives, instilled with the belief that had spurred them on to that long-awaited Stanley Cup success of 2012 and what followed was a 3-0 whitewash, helped by two first period goals from Tyler Toffoli and Anze Koppitar.
Suddenly 3-0 had become 3-2 and the Kings had hope and confidence going into Game 6.
It definitely showed, with the LA side romping to a 4-1 win at the Staples Center which meant it would go down to a decider.
But while the Sharks came into the game as if it was their very own Stanley Cup final, the Kings had been playing their very own version of the NHL’s ultimate showpiece, since Game 4.
“Being down 0-3 wasn’t an issue,” Kings forward Mike Richards explained in an interview with NBCSN.
“I don’t think there’s actually that much pressure, to be honest, because you’re almost expected to lose because you’re playing with the house’s money almost in every game.”
In a tight opening to the decider, the 2012 champions found themselves on the back foot, going behind in the second period. Lesser teams would have crumbled at the loss of momentum, but the Kings just kicked it up a gear, scoring five unanswered goals to book their place in the next round.
Fate was on their side too, with San Jose’s Patrick Marleau denied by a sensational Jonathan Quick glove save on the line, minutes before Kopitar made it 2-1.
But with this kind of comeback behind them and the momentum it brings, the time to back them is definitely now.
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