Hockey / Sports

The Los Angeles Kings' Alec Martinez jumps into the arms of teammate Kyle Clifford after scoring the game-winning goal in double overtime to beat the New York Rangers, 3-2, in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday, June 13, 2014. The win clinched the Kings' second Stanley Cup in three years. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

Kings are kings of hockey again with double OT win over Rangers

LOS ANGELES--The Los Angeles Kings completed a remarkable and improbable run to their second Stanley Cup championship in three years by defeating the New York Rangers with a 3-2, double-overtime victory on Friday night at Staples Center.

Kings defenseman Alec Martinez buried a rebound 14 minutes 13 seconds into the second overtime to start the celebration. The Kings came up the ice on a three-on-two rush. Forward Tyler Tofolli got off a shot that goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped. But the puck bounced to Martinez, who did not miss the open net. The shot was followed by a pile of teammates on his back.

Martinez also scored the game-winner in overtime against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals.

Kings winger Justin Williams won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs.

As been their M.O. this playoff season, the Kings did this the hard way.

Facing elimination seven times in the three rounds of playoffs before the Stanley Cup Final, the Kings continually showed their resilience when they became the first team in NHL history to win three Game 7s on the road.

The Kings then had home-ice advantage against the Rangers yet needed overtime in Games 1 and 2 to clinch 3-2 and 5-4 victories, respectively, after wiping out two-goal deficits in each meeting at Staples Center. Goaltender Jonathan Quick then turned in an impressive performance, making several outstanding saves among his 32, in leading L.A. to a 3-0 victory in Game 3 on Monday in New York, where the Rangers avoided elimination with a thrilling 2-1 win.

The Kings, though, almost didn't make it out of the first round, losing three games in a row to open the series against San Jose. They completed that series with a 5-1 victory over the Sharks to set up a first-ever playoff meeting against its Southern California rival, the top-seeded Anaheim Ducks. The Kings won the first two games on the road before losing three in a row. Again the Kings prevailed in a series decider, routing the Ducks, 6-2.

The defending champion Chicago Blackhawks, who eliminated the Kings last season, awaited them in a Western Conference finals rematch. After having been beaten by Chicago in five games last season, the Kings opened a 3-1 series lead but couldn't close out the Blackhawks until winning another overtime thriller, 5-4, at the United Center.

On Friday night, the Kings seemed out-manned for the second game in a row by the Rangers and trailed, 2-1, after two periods.

That changed in the third period. The Kings applied plenty of pressure, and it got them even.

First, Rangers left wing Mats Zuccarello was sent off for tripping. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty fired a shot that Lundqvist stopped. The rebound fell in the crease and Marian Gaborik poked the puck between Lundqvist's legs for the score eight minutes into the period.

Gaborik finished the play with his league-leading 14th goal in the playoffs.

The Kings out-shot the Rangers, 12-3, in the third period.

Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh and Toffoli had the best chances to score in the first overtime. McDonagh hit the post with a shot and Toffoli hit the crossbar.

The Rangers have had the better of play through two periods. The Kings went up, 1-0, six minutes into the game on a Justin Williams' ninth goal of the playoffs. But it was a tenuous lead.

Goaltender Jonathan Quick was fighting the puck all night. He made quality saves but has left juicy rebounds. The Kings have covered up for him with strong play in front of the net. Defenseman Willie Mitchell tied up Rangers center Brian Boyle, who had an open net to shoot at 11 minutes into the second period.

The Rangers kept pressing and it paid off.

McDonagh slipped in from the blue line and found left wing Chris Kreider near the post. Kreider redirected McDonagh's shot 15 minutes into the period.

Boyle gave the Rangers hope of a Game 6 in New York on Monday. He coolly brought the puck into the Kings' zone, crossed the ice and put the puck past Quick in the upper right corner of the net with 25 seconds left in the period.

(c)2014 Los Angeles Times

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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