Kings coach Darryl Sutter doesn’t often play nice with reporters. He doesn’t like their questions, so he doesn’t answer them. Or he talks about something else. Or he gives them lessons on how he thinks they should do their jobs, which was the case Sunday when he didn’t wish to critique the Kings’ season as it reaches the midway point. Here’s some of what he said when asked about what he likes, dislikes and believes can be improved: “You guys criticize, I analyze. Your responsibility should be to pass good things along to the fans, not negative things. I’ll just leave it at that.”
Alec Martinez’s OT goal in Game 5 vs. New York, June 13. Some moments are frozen in time and Martinez’s leaping image after scoring the Stanley Cup-winning goal at 14:43 of the second OT will be one of them for Kings fans. Martinez jumped for joy, tossing his stick into the air. He jumped again, throwing away his gloves. That’s what winning the Stanley Cup championship looked like in 2013-14.
Here’s a link to my Game 5 recap: http://www.dailynews.com/events/20140613/alec-martinez-works-ot-to-give-los-angeles-kings-their-second-stanley-cup-championshiphttp://
Justin Williams’ OT goal in Game 1 vs. New York, June 4. Only three days after Alec Martinez’s goal in overtime beat Chicago in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals, Williams supplied the winner off a turnover only 4:36 into OT in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. “Mr. Game 7,” as Williams came to be known for his heroics in winner-take-all games, was instantly dubbed “Mr. Game 1,” by teammates and reporters after setting the Kings on course for a 1-0 series lead with another huge goal.
Alec Martinez’s overtime goal in Game 7 vs. Chicago, June 1. The Kings would win three consecutive Game 7s on the road, a first in NHL history, with this clearly the closest and most nerve-jangling of the three series-deciders. Martinez’s goal 5 minutes, 47 seconds into sudden-death OT propelled the Kings to their second Stanley Cup Final in three seasons, a shot heard around the hockey universe.
Jeff Carter’s hat trick in Game 2 vs. Chicago, May 21: The defending champion Blackhawks won Game 1 handily, turning misplays into goals and then built a 2-0 lead in the early moments of the second period of Game 2. Carter led the Kings’ comeback with three third-period goals in a 6-2 victory that changed the course of the series and put the Kings on a path to the Stanley Cup Final.
Jonathan Quick’s penalty-shot save on Corey Perry in Game 7 vs. the Ducks, May 16: The Kings took an early 2-0 lead, but Perry was awarded a penalty shot and as the Honda Center crowd roared, it would take only a flick of the wrist for the Ducks to get back into the game. Quick denied Perry, however. The Kings’ Mike Richards scored a little more than a minute later and Game 7 was all but history. Quick wasn’t as sharp as he was during the Kings’ run to the Cup in 2012, but he made some huge saves when called upon in ’14. This was one of the biggest.
Jake Muzzin’s daring dash to score the first goal in Game 6 vs. the Ducks, May 14: The Ducks won three consecutive games after dropping the first two in the first playoff series between the Southern California rivals at the Honda Center. Muzzin’s goal midway through the first period, set the Kings back on a winning course. Their defense and goaltending enabled them to tie the series at 3-all with a 2-1 win.
Justin Williams’ tiebreaking goal in Game 4 vs. San Jose, April 24: Williams would go on to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs. He made one big play after another during the postseason, and this was no exception. His goal late in the second period gave the Kings a 3-2 lead en route to a 6-3 victory over the Sharks that ignited an improbable comeback in the first-round series. Williams finished the playoffs with 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) in 26 games, including seven points (two goals, five assists) in the Stanley Cup Final against New York.
The mood wasn’t as dour or defeatist as one might have expected after the Kings fell behind the San Jose Sharks three games to none following a 4-3 overtime loss in Game 3 on April 22 at Staples Center. The Kings refused to hold a pity party despite their dire situation.
“It’s pretty self-explanatory,” Kings center Anze Kopitar said calmly after the game. “We’re down 3-0. Every piece to this puzzle is going to have to give it their all. We’re going to have to come out and throw everything we have at them and see what happens.”
If there was one turning point for the Kings, one significant moment above all the rest in their road to the Stanley Cup championship, then this was it. If their defiance, their unwillingness to bend to the pressure or to accept defeat was rooted in one statement, then this was it.