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.
Las Vegas bookmakers Bovada don’t like the chances of Kings center Anze Kopitar winning the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward when the league announces its awards Tuesday. Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins is a 2/7 favorite to win the award, with Kopitar next at 11/4 and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks third at 15/1.
Here’s the Kings’ exhibition schedule:
Sept. 22, vs. Arizona, at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m. (split squad)
Sept. 22, at Arizona, 7 p.m. (split squad)
Sept. 25, vs. Ducks, at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 28, at Ducks, 5 p.m.
Sept. 30, at San Jose, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 2, vs. Colorado, at Colorado Springs, 6 p.m.
Oct. 4, vs. Colorado, at Las Vegas, 7 p.m.
FYI: The Phoenix Coyotes are now known as the Arizona Coyotes.
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.
Here’s the draft order for the first round, to be held June 27 in Philadelphia:
1. Florida, 2. Buffalo, 3. Edmonton, 4. Calgary, 5. N.Y. Islanders, 6. Vancouver, 7. Carolina, 8. Toronto, 9. Winnipeg, 10. Ducks (from Ottawa),
11. Nashville, 12. Phoenix, 13. Washington, 14. Dallas, 15. Detroit, 16. Columbus, 17. Philadelphia, 18. Minnesota, 19. Tampa Bay, 20. San Jose,
21. St. Louis (conditional to Buffalo), 22. Pittsburgh, 23. Colorado, 24. Ducks, 25. Boston, 26. Montreal, 27. Chicago, 28. Tampa Bay, 29. Kings, 30. New Jersey.
The Kings on Wednesday took a step toward planning for the day Darryl Sutter is no longer their coach. Sutter and general manager Dean Lombardi announced assistant John Stevens was promoted to the new job of associate head coach, an indication he’s in line as Sutter’s replacement. What’s more, assistant coach Davis Payne and goaltending coach Bill Ranford were given new contracts.
“Our coaching staff has been an integral part of the success of our team the last three years,” Lombardi said in a statement. “We are extremely pleased that they will remain part of our team and continue together as we strive for excellence.”
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.