LOS ANGELES – Thanks to his goal in double overtime, the name Alec Martinez will forever be remembered in Los Angeles Kings lore.
In a game that had the makings of a four or five overtime classic, the Kings defeated the Rangers 3-2 in double overtime to win their second Stanley Cup in three seasons. It was a fitting way to cap off a postseason that was all about grit and determination.
Justin Williams got the scoring started at 6:04 of the first period when he beat Henrik Lundqvist with a backhand to put the Kings up 1-0. The Kings remained ahead until early in the second period. At the 15:37 mark, with the Rangers on the power play, Chris Kreider tipped in a pass from Ryan McDonagh to tie the game at 1. With just 30 seconds left in the second period and the Kings on the power play, Rangers forward Brian Boyle went the other way and fired a shot past Jonathan Quick to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead.
In the third period, the Rangers looked to be on their way to Game 6 back in New York. That was until midway through the third period. At the 7:56 mark, with the Kings on the power play, former Ranger Marian Gaborik struck one again against his former team. After a shot from the point was saved, Gaborik jammed the puck through the legs of Lundqvist to tie the game at 2.
The game remained tied at the end of regulation, despite the furious attacks by both teams. Both teams nearly ended the game in the first overtime, but came up just short. And so a second overtime was needed, and it was not all that different than the first. Rick Nash nearly won it for the Rangers when he fired a shot towards an empty Kings net, but Slava Voynov’s perfectly timed stick deflected the puck up and over the net.
After nearly another period of nail-biting back and forth hockey, Tyler Toffoli’s shot was saved by Lundqvist. However, the puck was deflected right to the tape of Alec Martinez who deposited the puck into a nearly empty net to win the game, the series, and the Stanley Cup for the Kings as Henrik Lundqvist laid in front of the net frozen in disappointment and disbelief.
To Henrik Lundqvist’s credit, he was the Rangers’ most valuable player throughout the playoffs. He finished the game with 48 saves on 51 shots. Unfortunately for the Rangers, they fell into a 3-0 hole and were unable to get themselves out.
As for the Kings, this marked the second time in three seasons that they got to skate around the Staples Center ice as Stanley Cup Champions. Justin Williams, who added to his late game heroics throughout the playoffs, was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Kings were also the first home team to win the Stanley Cup in overtime since the New York Islanders in the 1980 Stanley Cup Final.
While the Rangers think about the missed opportunities and what might have been, the Kings are now busy planning another Stanley Cup parade through Los Angeles.
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