It was an anti-climactic finish to the NHL season last night in Los Angeles’ Staples Center, but none of the locals were complaining. The Los Angeles Kings jumped all over the New Jersey Devils early in the game, rattling off three power-play goals in the first period and cruising home to a 6-1 win that put the finishing touches on their six-game series win in the Finals and the hoisting of the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup.
The overall numbers for the game look fairly pedestrian for Los Angeles offensively, in line with what we’ve seen throughout the series. But while they got a 25 shots for the game (a middling number), they took more than half, 13 in all, in the first period, That’s the kind of offensive activity they had not generated through the first five games, even in their wins and it overwhelmed Devils’ goalie Martin Brodeur.
There was no score midway through the first period when the floodgates collapsed. Dustin Brown scored on the power play, then got an assist to Jeff Carter shortly thereafter. In both goals, Mike Richards was involved on a secondary assist. With five minutes to go in the period, Trevor Lewis scored with the man advantage and for all intents and purposes that was the dagger. The remaining two periods and change were about celebrating and counting down the clock. Although, as a Boston fan who saw the Bruins get up 3-0 in a Game 7 last year, I can tell you that the clock countdown is the most excruciatingly slow experience I have ever endured as a sports fan.
New Jersey got their goal towards the end of the second period to make it 4-1 and the Kings tacked on one goal against an empty net with close to four minutes left and then scored another one moments later with Brodeur back in the net. The veteran netminder, the best of his era, looked overmatched for the second time in this series—Game 3 being the other—and Brodeur joined the Celtics’ Big Three in the category of gutty veterans giving way to younger talent here in the past three days.
Los Angeles might have had some NBA disappointment this year, they might have baseball excitement in both leagues to look forward to in October. But for now the boys who play hockey are Kings of the town, as their improbable playoff run as a #8 seed ends with the Cup.