The last time the L.A. Kings managed to get into the Stanley Cup Finals, things didn’t work out so well. The year was 1993 and after beating the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1, things took a horrible turn in Game 2. What seemed to be like a sure thing ended up turning into a disaster that will be forever remembered by L.A. hockey fans as a twisted turn of events. It was a devastating blow to the Kings that has taken them nearly 20 years to bounce back from.
The Kings were up 2-1 in the 3rd period and it seemed like they were about to win the game when the coach for Montreal asked a referee to measure Marty McSorley’s hockey stick. The stick was ruled illegal by the ref and McSorley was given a 2-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Canadiens pulled their goalie, Patrick Roy, out of the game to get an even greater advantage on the Kings and scored a game tying goal that forced overtime.
It only took 51 seconds for the Montreal Canadiens to score in the extra period and the rest is hockey history. Many hockey fans still believe to this day that if the Kings would have won Game 2, they would have carried that momentum into Canada and bring back L.A.’s first Stanley Cup. Of course, we can’t predict what would have happened, but it’s a likely scenario that usually occurs in all sports–not just hockey.
If you’re from Los Angeles, you probably don’t care about hockey. But in the early 90’s L.A. was Hockeytown, USA. With the addition of Wayne Gretzky to the club, the Kings went from being a side-thought into the hottest ticket in town. The Dodgers reign was over, the Lakers Showtime era was done, the Raiders and Rams were about to take off…all we had were the Kings. Gretzky turned a lot of Angelino’s into die-hard hockey fans who’ve sat impatiently for 20 years for them to return to glory.
The wait is over for these fans and it seems like the Kings will officially close it out tonight at Staples Center when they take on the New Jersey Devils in Game 4. If the Kings win, it’s a sweep. But more than that, it’s a statement. It’s a statement that says “we’re back L.A.” It’s 2012 and we have no football teams, 2 basketball teams that are out of the playoffs, 2 baseball teams (1 struggling at .500 and 1 missing it’s best player)…our only hope is the Kings. GO KINGS GO!